I recently had the opportunity to have lunch with a third year and first year law student enrolled at my alma mater.
While I know these students were interested to hear from an alumni who graduated 15 years ago, I was refreshed and encouraged to hear from them even more.
When I graduated in the "L.A. Law" generation, most wanted to get a BigLaw job. They didn't know what it entailed, just that it paid well, would help offset the monthly loan payments, and maybe in 7 years they'd become partner. Most in my class that started in BigLaw as a loan repayment program have moved on to non-law careers or become lawyers, representing real people with real issues.
Now, BigLaw is shedding, hiring a few, and deferring the start date for many of those new hires. BigLaw has not yet absorbed what the future will hold for them, and the layoffs are just beginning.
The third year student is already working on environmental issues in a small consulting company he's started, and he's trying to see where technology can help him practice law. BigLaw is of no interest to him, or many of his classmates. The lack of interest is due to the lack of jobs, and the knowledge of what the jobs really are, a penthouse form of salaried unhappiness.
The first year student has an interest in photography and music. Specifically, he has some experience taking pictures of live bands. He finds IP law interesting and wants to know how he can combine his interest with a law practice. I explained to him that developing relationships now with bands and venues that have live bands, may find him a good base of clients when he graduates and is trying to find work at an IP firm.
What I found from both of these students was not that BigLaw was of no interest, but that they had other interests, mainly doing something they find interesting, and for which they have a passion.
They want to pay back their loans, but that's not what they are looking for in a law career.
They want to be lawyers.
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com