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.

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