17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I wish I read this book in my 1L year or even before law school. It is the most serious book out there for getting the legal job of your "dreams" which is not necessarily the job that pays the most. Some of you will stop reading this review at this point because you feel that the two are synonymous. If you are absolutely sure of that, don't read the book or the rest of this review. Also, go get an MBA because they make way more money, especially per hour worked, than lawyers. But, if you are like me and want more out of your legal career than money, definitely read this book. Believe me, I'm not suggesting that money isn't important. It is. But for most people, money is only one component of happiness.
Since all of you reading this are probably law students, I will tell you that I'm a 3L at UC Davis Law School with some experience to share. The book is a collection of chapters that often repeat themselves. The author explains in the introduction that it is not to be read cover to cover. Read the book section by section according to your needs. For the purposes of this review, I will explain my situation and how the book helped me going forward and how it could have helped me had I read it earlier.
I transferred to UC Davis because I never made it off the waitlist initially. But I worked my butt off first year and made top 10%. That got got me into Davis as a transfer student and I got swept up in OCI fever. I came to law school from a political and local government background and thought that was the direction I was heading. However, doing so well academically made me a target for interviews at big firms. I thought "why are these other loser law students getting the opportunity to earn $30,000 in a summer and get a cushy firm job after graduation? Those salaries are more than my parents make! Sign me up!"
Of course, the book would have warned me that this is an example of "Dream Cloning." Is it really MY dream to go on the big firm track? Isn't there a reason why 1/2 of new associates leave their firm? Is there a reason why very few are actually happy with their jobs? What does billing 2200 hours annually actually mean? Why are they really paying this kind of money? I was not thinking about these questions the book helps flush out. I was thinking that I have just as much skills as the clowns next to me. I'm not trying to hate on OCI, big salaries, or big firms, but it is important for folks to make an informed decision. The book helps law students tremendously in knowing their options, especially with the reality of law school costs.
I got 4 callback interviews and zero offers. I felt like a total loser because some of my friends (though not many) got offers and will make a lot of money. During 2L Spring Semester, after all the rejection letters came in, things did not go well. I actually took the business law classes, which covered what the OCI firms actually practice in. It is stupid that firms hire folks before they get a chance to take these classes. Anyways, I hated the classes and did not do that well in them. This lack of interest is probably why I did not get the jobs during my callbacks. I'm not very good at feigning enthusiasm for stuff I'm not interested in.
At the end of second semester, I read the book and it really defined the situation for me. I forgot why I came to law school and lost my focus. I started to live someone else's life and I didn't like it that much. The book has sections to help students find their focus. It helps one answer the right questions about what kind of life one wants to live.
For me, I love civil practice and having as broad a practice as possible. I also love politics and working with political entities. Also, I like the a high public exposure job. Also, I hate doing the same thing over and over again. I'm willing to sacrifice some salary for the diversity of issues in my legal practice. This is why I want to be a City Attorney--civil practice, lots of legal issues, politics, high exposure--that's me. Most law firms don't practice in this area because it is done in house or there is more money elsewhere.
The book also helps law students identify the negatives of what they do because there is no perfect job. For me, there are lots of negatives with my "dream job." Money isn't great at first, civil litigation is boring, City attorneys have to be worried about media exposure, and political pressure from local elected officials. This is not for everybody but I don't mind the negatives.
Do most law students really know what they want to do and what they are passionate about? Seriously, ask your classmates and you will hear a lot of baloney. They don't have a clue what they want to do and are just going on autopilot. This book gives tips of how to take control of your destiny. Once you figure out what you want, the book explains how to get externships, internships, and the other types of experience you will need to get the job. The reason this is necessary is most "dream" jobs are not advertised.
Also, the legal market nationwide, with the exception of patent law, is contracting. It is a horrible time to be a new law graduate because you are competing with experienced attorneys for employment. Most likely, it is going to take a lot of hustling to get any job let alone the job of your dreams. This book helped me figure out what my dream job is and how to maximize my chances of getting it. It offers no easy answers or guarantees, but in life none exist anyway. All you can do is increase your odds to get what you want.
Read the book.