Saturday, March 17, 2012

Meet the profession AKA an exercise in self-degradation

In the midst of doing some highly productive study for evidence I have decided to put a stop to such momentum and blog.

Recently I attended a ‘Meet the profession’ evening being held by the Law Student Society. As a member of the society I was more or less obliged to part with the $40 and schmooze/brown nose at the event. Maybe it is 4 years of law school which has made me more than a little cynical about such events or maybe in past careers I have had to build a business with actual networking not a contrived and sterile event that leaves me feeling like I wasted my time.

Firstly I must qualify the above statement by telling you that I can see some benefit to attending the event, but only if you are looking for an insight into what it is to work at various firms, and even then to take what you are told with a grain of salt.

The evening starts with various people with either blue name cards (who are the ‘profession’) or white ones (who are the ‘students’) milling around awkwardly, however as the free wine and beer took its hold things got a touch more loose and social. Law students seem to be a desperate bunch, with each one of us trying everything we can to make sure we are not still working at a fast food joint or retail outlet once we have our law degrees. The students then start trying to ‘make an impression’ on these lawyers, however after a little digging it became apparent many of the lawyers were recent graduate who would hold little or no ‘pull’ come application time. I found this game to be depressing and hardened my resolve to be my own boss.

It is about this time of year applications for clerkships open and close, it’s a cruel game where students apply to as many firms as they can ‘tailoring’ each cover letter to the firm to make it sound like they handpicked the firm to apply to because they really wanted to work at ‘Medium to Small Not Very Interesting Firm’. The clerkship game makes me feel ill. Not because of all the work being put into it with the slim to tiny chance of getting a clerkship where you will then be pitted against 15 other clerks all vying for the same 2 positions. No, it is because we are reducing ourselves to begging for the opportunity to put into practice what we have been killing ourselves studying to do.

Instead of walking out of the evening feeling like I had met key people I want to form a close professional relationship in that they may ‘put in a good word’ for an application. To me it was a law version of the Hunger Games. (stop sniggering at my poor, pop trash taste in books)

I am also very aware I am in the privileged position to go to such an event with no view of networking because I have an excellent job I will very happily stay at once I graduate.

Now to regain that momentum I lost. – Obiter


  1. Law student, eh? Started thinking about that future job yet? May I make a suggestion? Check out JD Match in between the papers and exams. I work with JD Match and it’s a great step for any law student looking for an AmLaw firm job and a little weight off their shoulders.

  2. James, you are honestly the best human alive. So happy you ended up writing this. Much love. Lizzie. xx

  3. Ouch - $40 for a painful networking schmooze!

    Whenever I even see the word networking (particularly if it's followed by the word 'lunch') I die a little bit inside.

    What have we degenerated into? :-\

  4. I considered going to different law networking nights etc this week also.. but have decided to wait until next year (my penultimate..!). Where do you study?