Life After Law School: Finding a Job and Starting a Career

Sitting in Contracts or Business Associations, the end of law school seems farther away than the nearest building over five stories tall. However, within about three years, most law students exit through the doors of Wesemann Hall, walk across the stage at graduation, and go into the real world. And to some of us, deciding what we want to do once we leave here is harder than the actual experience of some of the hardest three years of our lives.

When I was in middle school I knew I wanted to go to law school. It was my goal and I worked non-stop to get here. But once I got here, I realized that I hadn’t really planned for what exactly I was going to do once these three years came to an end. What exactly was it that I really wanted to do once I left here? I remember having clear answers to these questions when I was younger and somehow all the potential options available upon graduation really put a deep haze upon my past plans.

With graduation just eight short months away, I remembered a green book I bought a couple of months before I came to law school. It was the Valparaiso University School of Law orientation on a really nice day in June and the career services staff, who we would get to know much better as our years here progressed, suggested that we read two books: “What Can You Do With A Law Degree?” and “Guerrilla Tactics For Getting The Legal Job Of Your Dreams âÂ?¦” The first book tells you alternatives to law firm jobs while the latter actually tells you how to land the job once you know what you really want.

So realizing I wasn’t completely lost, I dug out these books that I haven’t looked at since those couple of months before law school really started to take away every waking moment. After all, we’re not all cookie cutter law students and because of that and our varied interests, there are different types of jobs out there for all of us. Whether it is working in a completely different field than law like finance or management or going into politics, the opportunities are out there for us as graduates of the law to bring a whole new prospective and depth of knowledge to a job that may need innovation.

Most of all, we have to be able to sell ourselves to what we really want. This is one of the most important steps of our lives, whether we use it as our first step to something much bigger or it is somewhere we want to be for a long time. These are very precious moments of our lives that we will not be able to get back so everyone needs to really look and decide how they want to spend that time. While there is nothing wrong with climbing up the ladder to your dream job, there is nothing honorable in doing something that you don’t believe in or that really says something opposite about you than you want to advertise to the world and most importantly to yourself.

As with traditional law careers as well as non-traditional ones, there are always choices. The type of law we practice and if we practice at all should reflect a little bit of a personal characteristic that is unique to each of us. It is much more than being able to face yourself in the mirror after a long day at work. Rather, it is to know that the time you’re spending at work produces something that, even though it may not be exactly what you’re going to do for the rest of your life, is nevertheless something that you wholeheartedly believe in and makes your life worthwhile.

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