Monday, August 16, 2010

Whoa! Where the hell have I been?

Seems like I haven't had a second to spare since I moved here and started working. 

At this point, I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to keep working on this blog.  I have moved on to a new place in my life.  The new place is pretty damn great, but it's pretty damn busy too.

I am going to leave the blogosphere to a new group of anxious law students filled with trepidation for now.

My only advice after going through the experience of law school as a non-traditional student?  Don't do it unless you are 100% sure what you want to do afterward, and that your passion for that area of the law will sustain you through the experience.  Because it's not very likely that following your passion will lead to immediate financial rewards.  I am not starving, but I sure am not rich either.

Good luck to all of you.  See you in cyberspace!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Hi there!  As you can imagine, I have been really busy with getting used to my new job, unpacking and the Holiday season.

I really like my new city, and am figuring out where things are.  I am not really used to having such reduced variety for shopping.  I am a big "shop local" girl, and there aren't that many options for that here.  There is only one organic grocery.  It's expensive, but I am trying to support it as much as possible.  Conveniently, it is located four blocks from my work. 

As for work, I will post more about that soon. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Found an apartment

The past few days have been spent apartment hunting in smallish town in the middle of nowhere.  After several Google Maps sessions, I have definitely determined that my new town is at least 1.5 hours from everywhere.  And by everywhere, I mean all the places where I have friends, or that have really cool stuff going on.  Unfortunately, I am moving to a place that's not that exciting. 

It also has some of the weirdest rental real estate ever.  Tons of tiny houses near my work, but 90% are disgusting, and the other 10% are tiny, or have sky high heating costs or both.  So we ended up taking a place in an apartment complex on the edge of town.  The lucky part is that we looked at this place Wednesday and were shown a deluxe unit with a ton of amenities.  We couldn't afford it.  So we also looked at a 2 bedroom that was small, but had a nice kitchen and 2 bedrooms.  When we went back to look at it again as the clock was ticking on our decision, the manager decided to give us the deluxe unit for the smaller unit's price.  So we got a 1,200 square foot apartment, with 2 bathrooms and a 2 car attached garage.  For only $750 including heat.  This is about $140 less than I paid for rent during law school, but for a nicer place.

That's exciting.  Now, I just need to figure out how to lure my friends to come and visit.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Update on my "getting pushy" post

As you might remember, I emailed a potential employer (who I had interviewed with before) a couple weeks ago.  The idea was that I wanted to find out if I had a chance to work at that org, in a town that's much closer to friends and family, before I took the job in the middle of nowhere.  Well, I accepted my job on the 16th, and the other place emailed me on the 17th, telling me they wanted to interview me.  Argh!

I am happy to have a job, but a little peeved that it took this other organization 2 full weeks to get back to me.  Yes, I would prefer living in a town closer to home and friends, but that old saying about a "bird in the hand" still holds true.  So I am getting used to the idea of living in the middle of the state, and having to drive about 3 hours to visit anyone I know. 

And when it comes time for me to job hunt again, hopefully the economy won't be so bad, and I will have more flexibility when accepting offers, and won't get pushed into accepting a job before all my other options have been explored.  I also have learned that public interest employers move slowly, and to take that into account when I am looking.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sorry for my absence

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I have been pretty busy.  Lately, I have been "Twittering Professionally" which means I post tweets about news in my field, and of things that are interesting to me as a lawyer.  So, Twitter is taking up a lot of time.  I have found a lot of professional contacts on Twitter, and really enjoy it.  As a result of me being so "into" social networking, the state bar has kind of put me in charge of managing our division's presence on Facebook and Twitter.  (Mostly because the rest of the board has no idea how this stuff works.)  This is great, as I love social networking and think that working on this project can help me make a name for myself with the general state bar leadership.

Yesterday, I went to the town in the middle of the state where I will be working.  I need to find a place to live, as I am starting work on December 1.  It was strange....lots of older, very small houses for rent "downtown" and newer apartment communities in the so-called "burbs" which are really about 5 miles from downtown.   Because we are unable to make a decision yet, we are going back Sunday and staying in a hotel through Monday to look for places again.  I love the idea of renting a house, but only if it has a kitchen big enough to cook a meal in, and doesn't smell like cat urine.  Both of these have been a problem thus far.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I got a job offer!

So, I guess my email was not necessary.  Got home today and there was a job offer in the mail.  I haven't accepted yet, so all I will say is that it is a legal services organization in a non-major city.  The position itself is absolutely ideal.  I will be providing direct services to people who are too poor to afford legal representation otherwise.  And doing a lot of consumer and landlord/tenant and public benefits law.  All areas I really like. 

I am pretty psyched!

Risky Business

So, I have finally done something that I had avoided in my job search so far - I got pushy. 


I had interviewed for a job at a public interest org in July, and didn't get the job.  And they recently posted another job for that same location.  Actually, I have interviewed 5 times for jobs at this same organization, in many different locations.  And I didn't get any of the jobs.  One rejection was b/c they hired a transfer from another office.  Another was because the subject area they wanted to hire someone for was unfamiliar to me.  I know they hired a 2006 grad from another school for one of the positions.  One interview just went badly for reasons I can't explain here, but was fallout from my previous life hiring attorneys as an office manager. 

So, I wanted to find out whether I had any chance whatsoever of employment at this org.  And I emailed to ask just that.  Very nicely and professionally, but I did.  My email went something like this:

"Dear Ms. Employer: I met with you in July regarding a position with your office.  Since then, I have been volunteering at ABC Public Interest Org and working with XYZ Org.  Recently, I saw your office posted a new staff attorney opening.  As I mentioned during our previous meeting, I am very passionate about working as a legal services attorney, and am still interested in working for your office because of my many connections to the area.  Would you be willing to reconsider me for a position in your office?  I have attached my resume to refresh your recollection of our previous meeting.  Thanks in advance for your consideration.  Sincerely, Improvilaw"

This is risky as hell, but had to happen.  If this org really has no intention of hiring me, a lack of response to my email will verify that.  However, if I was their second choice the last time I applied, I am hoping that they will contact me and say so. Doing this scares me, but it's even more frightening to send in my materials and wait a month or more to find out what's going on.

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things that are more important than money

Here is a great post on "The Simple Dollar" about 15 things the author found are more important than money.

The short list:

Physical health
Mental health
Personal passions
Helping others
Personal growth
 At a time in my life when I have less money than I ever have, (seriously - this includes when I was 16 years old!) I can truthfully say that all of the above have become really vitally important to me.  And I have also noticed that as I concentrate on some of these things, and worry about finances less, that I am happier overall. 

While my hobbies have changed during this period of unemployment, I still have the time to do some things I really enjoy, like going for long walks, playing tennis and reading novels (from the library, of course).  I also am very lucky to have a wonderful man in my life, whose unwavering faith in me gets me through even the worst days.  My meditation practice keeps me sane and keeps stress levels down, and I have wonderful friends, both near and far. 

No matter what your situation is, take a minute to contemplate this list, and you will notice, as I did, that life is pretty good.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Networking FAIL

Tonight, I went with my friend L, a biglaw attorney, to a pro bono event in town.  The event was billed as a "celebration" of pro bono efforts by local attorneys, but it really was just a "hey, you should do pro bono work" push from local legal services orgs.  Nothing special, and nothing that I haven't participated in before when I was a project assistant to the law school's pro bono project. 

When I arrived, the temperature in the room was about 75 degrees.  Stifling in a fully lined business suit.  Ugh.  Talk about uncomfortable! Even worse, some of my classmates who are working at firms in the area were there, and it was slightly awkward.  When I am dealing with people who are naturally introverted like some of these people, I feel obligated to take the lead in conversations, asking questions about their lives and practices, even though I could care less.  I just hate awkwardness. 

During one of the "speeches" the presenter started saying, "I am going to go around the room and ask people to introduce themselves and say what organization they are with."  And I almost had a heart attack.  Was I going to have to admit to a room full of people with jobs that I didn't have one?  The thought made me sick to my stomach.  I know that lots of new grads are still looking for work, but I think I was the only person there without an organization's name under theirs on the stick-on name badges they gave us.  Well, the speaker meant that she wanted people from the non-profits who were angling for help to introduce themselves, and I was relieved.  Incredibly relieved.  For some reason, when I am around a bunch of people who graduated when I did, and 6 out of 7 have jobs, I hate being the odd woman out.

It made me feel like a loser.  Big time.


So much so that I passed up any further chance to network with those in attendance, and fled with my friend right after the speeches were done.  This is totally not like me, and is very telling as to my state of mind when it comes to my career these days.  And that is just....sad. 

I am attending a training session for the bar's "lawyer assistance program" on Friday, and I am going in there with guns blazing, and will try to network my butt off, unemployment be dammed!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ways to keep busy during unemployment

As my period of unemployment goes on (and on) I have gotten a little better at finding things to do that are more fulfilling (and slightly more productive) than the hand wringing and hoping that had been occupying me in the past 4 months.  What have I been up to?

  1. Twitter: I have started more carefully following the legal (ish) things that interest me and tweeting about them.  I think that Twitter can provide me with some good networking opportunities, if I am using it correctly. Part of that is tweeting about things that actually matter, rather than just a random mindstream of my thoughts. 
  2. Working out: I have been forcing myself to get out and walk every day.  I think it keeps no-job anxiety at bay.
  3. Connecting: Getting better at reaching out to friends that I haven't seen in a while, and not just those in the legal profession.  Regular contact with regular people is good for my outlook.  Overexposure to a bunch of other stressed-out recent grads is not. 
  4. Learning: I have signed up for some free seminars and CLEs. This will give me some new things to talk about at interviews and keeps my mind engaged. 
  5. Housecleaning: Getting my stuff in order keeps my sister's basement from feeling like, well, a basement. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Job interview on Monday went well

I had a job interview on Monday in the middle of the state to work at a legal services non-profit.  As usual, the interviewers tended to focus on the one area that I am lacking, rather than the many areas where I have a good amount of experience. 

When I was a 1L, I tried to get into the school's consumer law clinic.  Since consumer law is the one thing I knew I really liked when I was a paralegal, I thought that doing that clinic was a great way for me to expand my knowledge and get some real experience.  Before law school, I had worked on a few cases at my old firm, and really loved fighting sub-prime lenders who had sloppy bookkeeping practices and unfair loan terms.  However, I did not get into the clinic.  That year, they took 6 out of the 72 people who applied.  It was by far the most competitive clinic. What bugged me is that the students who were admitted to the clinic really did it "for the experience" and didn't have the same burning interest in the subject matter that I did.  After law school, NONE of them decided to pursue it professionally. 

And I missed the one opportunity I would have had to actually appear in court as a law student.  And potential employers never let me forget it.  At my interview, they asked why I didn't have this experience.  I explained that our school only allows clinical students to represent clients under the student practice rule.  Since my summer job was with the government, but wasn't supervised by a clinical professor, I wasn't allowed to appear in court.  I attended a lot of hearings, but never appeared on behalf of a client until an externship my 3L year.

Since about 1/3 of our students did clinicals, and I would guess that at least 60% got some court time through them, I am at a disadvantage with legal services organizations. 

At the time, our career advisers said this wasn't a big deal, but apparently it was.  I am hoping that the organization I interviewed with can look past this and see that I have a broad base of public interest experience and am passionate about doing this work. 

Otherwise, it will be more months of unemployment for me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I am not funemployed!

I was reading an article about 20 somethings who are "funemployed" and the blogger who is taking credit for coining that term.  And I got mad.  The funemployed are young professionals who were laid off and are using their savings and unemployment compensation to do things they "always" (how long can that be when you are 26?) wanted to.  Like going to Turkey, and taking pilates classes and getting massages.  The article even discusses one guy who bought himself a $3,000 road bike when he lost his job.  WTF?

I am not sure if I am mad because I am not receiving unemployment compensation and can't join them, or if their cavalier attitude about not working and taking money from the government is just rubbing me the wrong way.  The article talks about these people using unemployment to "find themselves." Isn't that what they were supposed to be doing in college? 

Even worse is that this phenomenon and the publicity surrounding it may take away from the plight of those without financial resources to withstand extended unemployment, or those without health insurance, or people whose student loan creditors won't take no for an answer.  We are still out here America.  Living in our sisters' basements!

P.S. I get that the term funemployment is meant to make being out of work less depressing, but taking it to the extremes mentioned above is just ridiculous!