Where To Next?

So here it is. 3L. The final year. We’re just about six months from graduation and I’m still in the job hunt. Maybe I should be stressed about the fact that I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now. But instead, I find it to be a bit exhilarating to wonder, “Where to next?”

Had you asked me where I would be after graduation when I walked through the doors on the first day of 1L year, I probably would have answered New York, DC, or Boston. From what I’d read, that seems to be where most of us end up for our first jobs out of school. I had no idea what kind of law I wanted to practice, and it seemed like the smart thing to do would be the lucrative thing to do—apply to a firm and live the big law life. As the year went on and the networking events started, I felt a little behind my classmates who threw around the names of firms like I should know who they were and what they specialized in. I did some research during the On-Campus Interview process and even submitted my resume to a few places, but at times I felt like I was just going through the motions. Fortunately, there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to career resources, so I’ve often spent my time scrolling through the job postings and finding all sorts of opportunities that were a far cry from the big law life I originally envisioned. An Army Corps of Engineers posting in Alaska. A Federal judicial clerkship in Iowa. In-house counsel for an air freshener manufacturer in upstate New York. I imagined myself at all those places—what the work would be like, what life would be in a totally new town. The possibilities seem endless.

I decided that I was not going to let my pre-conceived notions of what I ought to be doing get in the way of the jobs I should actually be pursuing because of my passion for the work. So far it has paid off, with rewarding summer internships that have both expanded my horizons and narrowed my focus on the kind of law I want to practice after graduation. By keeping the door open geographically, I feel like I have a whole world open to me, and the job search feels much less like a squeeze and more like an adventure. There might be promise at a small practice at a sleepy fishing village in Maine, or a large non-profit in Chicago. Perhaps planting roots in Boston might be the next step, doing some local government work and gaining in-depth knowledge about the issues affecting the local community.

What the future holds remains to be seen, but there’s no question that we’re lucky to be armed with this world-class education and a whole world out there for us to use it.  So for now, the job hunt continues, and I look forward to finding out what the next chapter brings.

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