Legal Dilemma

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Q: I hate to sound antagonistic, but after three years of law school and student loans that make the U.S. deficit look like a joke, I can’t find a job in the legal industry. I did what society said to do — go to school, get good grades — and right now I am in utter dismay that the same society that encouraged me to go to law school has turned its back on me! My next door neighbor was so proud when I graduated, he told everyone at the grocery store. Now when I go to buy milk, I have to continuously explain that graduating law school means nothing if you don’t pass the bar and, of course, are unwanted by any law firm.
— M. Jacqui, Washington, D.C.

A: At first glance, the solution to your dilemma is simple: You need to pass the bar if you really want to practice law. However, I suspect your problem goes a bit deeper. It doesn’t sound like becoming a lawyer was ever something you wanted for yourself. The question is, have you been pursuing a legal career because it is something you truly enjoy and want to excel at? Or, have you been doing it to live up to the expectations of your next door neighbor, everyone at the grocery store, and the rest of “society”?

You are probably not doing as good a job as you think of concealing your resentment in job interviews, and that will definitely hurt your chances of being hired, whether or not you pass the bar. Don’t dismiss the value of your law degree; there are plenty of professions outside of law, where employers would find it of value.

Whatever you decide, do it for yourself.

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