She was not the first non-lawyer connection to offer me an internship. I met another person through my alma mater (again, not my law school) who offered me a six-month internship in another state, but his boss was unwilling to pay me the minimum I requested in order to make the move. What really touched me was that the alumnus forwarded me the emails he sent to his boss telling him that I was worth X dollars. His boss wasn't willing to budge, probably because he knew he'd have a line of graduates outside his door willing to work for less than what he had already offered me. I still keep in touch with alumnus and appreciate the few people in this economy willing to give young people a chance, especially us law school graduates looking to break into another career.
The assistance and advice I've received from my other alumni network is in stark contrast from the reaction I get from law school alumni. I mentioned this at Esq. Never in response to his post "The Networking Trail of Tears" several weeks ago. I contacted an alumna of my law school who was looking to hire a part-time attorney for her small law office near Podunk. She called me within an hour of sending her my cover letter and resume telling me how she was soooo impressed, how I seemed overqualified for the job, and that she would love to meet with me to discuss details. I set up a meeting with her at a restaurant for the following week. She didn't even bother to show up. I waited at the restaurant for an hour and called her law office several times only to be told by her receptionist that she wasn't there. She never even emailed me to apologize. Only a month later did I receive a rejection letter by email which didn't include an explanation or an apology for standing me up.
What does it say about the state of our nation and the effectiveness of our educational system when a first generation college student with dual degrees from the best universities in America believes the only option left for her is to take out yet another private loan to get her PhD because she is unable to find a job – any job – even as a barista at the local Starbucks? What does it say when this blog gets thousands of hits each month with numerous young people telling us that they’ve given up, contemplated suicide, or have to lie on their resume because they have too much education to get a job? When one-third of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are unemployed with no hope in sight of obtaining a job to move out of their parents’ house and begin a family of their own? With loan sharks breathing down the necks of college and graduate students. Laughing. Knowing that they are protected by their friends in Washington to ensure that student loan reform will never come to fruition. That there will be generations of students to come who will line their coffers with most of their life savings.
When I read the comments emailed to me or left on our posts, I think back to my own negative experiences with lawyers at work and now in my job search. I think of the law school shill and publications like The National Jurist that turn the very definition of greed and power on its head to avoid real analysis of the problems that exist in both law schools and the legal job market and to muffle any discussions of reform. And I feel fortunate to know people outside of my “vast” law school alumni network who will help me when the going gets tough, even if it’s a small gesture of forwarding an email about a potential job. Sometimes those small gestures of thoughtfulness is what keeps the human spirit going and makes us believe that there are people out there kind enough to give us second chances, even those of us with a Juris Doctorate.
PS – I received Yves Smith’s ECONNED book in the mail today so expect a review and giveaway in several weeks. Also, LOST and The Good Wife is on tonight. Is anyone else excited?