In less than five days, you will have finished another round of final exams. For those of you who are reading this while still slugging through finals, keep positive. You will make it, and it will feel so good when you do. Until then, remember all the cliché words of advice – eat well, get plenty of sleep, take time to exercise – and then don’t worry when you do none of these.
The one piece of advice I would suggest you follow, and which helped me tremendously, is don’t rehash your exams. Don’t think about what you could’ve or should’ve said. Don’t talk to your classmates about what they wrote or the issues they thought were key. Don’t pore over your notes or casebook trying to determine if you gave the correct answer. No good will come of this. You can’t change what’s done, and it will almost certainly cause you undue anxiety and stress to continue to think about it.
To those of you who are celebrating another year of law school completed, I offer my sincere congratulations. I know how challenging the last few weeks have been, but if you didn’t have the ability to meet challenges head-on, you wouldn’t be in law school. Surviving finals is just one of the many challenges you will face as you move through life and advance in your career. Consider exams training for what’s to come. I encourage you to continue to rise to the challenges that confront you, and challenge yourself every day to be the best you can be. Be ambitious, be courageous, be determined, and you will make the world a better place.
If you are currently facing the challenge of not having a job, know that you are not alone. Although the economy and the legal market have improved, finding a legal job, whether for the summer or for after graduation, is not an easy task. For 1Ls and 2Ls, paid summer jobs performing legal work have always been limited, and remain so, with fewer than half of our students successful in finding these positions. For graduating 3Ls, only about 50% of you will have secured employment at the time of graduation, and this is consistent with years past. However, 9 months later, the employment numbers are typically closer to 90%, with many of you finding jobs found after the Bar exam and following the swearing in ceremony. This doesn’t mean you should sit back and do nothing to further your job search for the next several months, but I hope it will give you some perspective on what to expect.
The bottom line is this – if you are a graduating 3L and you don’t have a job, don’t be discouraged, don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. As much as I’d like to wave a magic wand and produce the perfect job for each and every one of you, finding a job takes time and effort. Most jobs, especially entry-level jobs, don’t just fall in your lap. You will likely face numerous rejections before you find success, and this can lead to feeling worthless and hopeless. If you find yourself feeling this way, wallow for a minute or two, then pull yourself up and get back on task. Remember, you are not alone, you will be successful, and the staff in the Career Development Office is here to help you along the way. We know what works, and what doesn’t, and we are happy to help you develop a strategy and coach you through the process.
- Dean Lisa Key