Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

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CS1775
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Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by CS1775 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:56 am

I'm about halfway through my current state clerkship. I sat for an October remote bar and passed. I don't currently have a post-clerkship job lined up. I got through law school with a 75% scholarship.

What I'm realizing every day more and more is that I have zero to minimal interest in practicing law after my clerkship. Maybe opening up my own real estate practice (real estate is an area I know, get, and enjoy to an extent), but the idea of working in a firm is very unappealing.

I don't think this is a temporary slump because I've noticed myself becoming more disinterested as my clerkship's gone past.

Open to thoughts/questions/suggestions.

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Nony
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by Nony » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:11 am

You said firm work is unappealing - what about non-firm work? Do you enjoy the clerking itself but think based on what you see that you wouldn’t like practice, or do you dislike it all? (FWIW, I had a slightly similar experience - I went into clerking interested in certain practice areas but seeing how they worked in reality turned me off.)

CS1775
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by CS1775 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:17 am

Nony wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:11 am
You said firm work is unappealing - what about non-firm work? Do you enjoy the clerking itself but think based on what you see that you wouldn’t like practice, or do you dislike it all?
I enjoy the research/writing aspect of clerking. I don't enjoy the "cog in the wheel" aspect.

I spent a large amount of time interning for public defenders in law school, including a semester as a student practitioner, and I enjoyed working with the clients, but its an emotional roller coaster. When you win, its awesome. When you loose, its extremely painful.

I've considered a state government position or corporate counsel, those jobs are just hard to find, however.

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Nony
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by Nony » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:42 am

Not to sound harsh, but how much time/effort have you put into finding those jobs? I ask because a job that appeals to you being hard to find is different from having no interest in practicing law. If you like working with clients, would some kind of transactional work at a firm be a better option than litigation?

And of course if you just don't want to practice law, that's fine too. What would you do instead?

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jeff chiles
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by jeff chiles » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:59 am

Real estate is a broad practice area that has elements that are very much “practicing law” and parts that are more business or even engineering/design oriented.

But you cannot avoid the “cog in the wheel” aspect in real estate; even as a solo practitioner you are always going to be part of a much larger system of architects, civil engineers, finance people, title people, brokers, and government officials in order to get projects done. This is especially the case if you are in a volume practice area like residential closings.

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Kümmel
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by Kümmel » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:04 am

In addition to everything Nony has said, I would also suggest looking at public interest jobs that work with clients/same population as public defenders, but are non-litigation oriented. The jobs can be "hard to find," and usually pay is shit, but if it's what you enjoy then it's definitely a good option for the start of your legal career. So not criminal/housing/immigration/family defense, but instead public assistance benefits/denial, some disability work, education, employment, general "legal aid." I would start by just googling "legal aid ____" in wherever you're interested and look if there are any openings. PSJD is probably the best general job board for public interest jobs

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Nony
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by Nony » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:06 am

Yeah, I totally agree about legal aid.

CS1775
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by CS1775 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:11 am

Nony wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:42 am
Not to sound harsh, but how much time/effort have you put into finding those jobs? I ask because a job that appeals to you being hard to find is different from having no interest in practicing law. If you like working with clients, would some kind of transactional work at a firm be a better option than litigation?

And of course if you just don't want to practice law, that's fine too. What would you do instead?
I've kept an eye on various state websites for state positions. I haven't put much effort into finding corporate positions except for what I come across on say LinkedIn. Most of my "problem" stems from being apathetic. I dislike what I'm currently doing, so, I'm apathetic.
jeff chiles wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:59 am
Real estate is a broad practice area that has elements that are very much “practicing law” and parts that are more business or even engineering/design oriented.

But you cannot avoid the “cog in the wheel” aspect in real estate; even as a solo practitioner you are always going to be part of a much larger system of architects, civil engineers, finance people, title people, brokers, and government officials in order to get projects done. This is especially the case if you are in a volume practice area like residential closings.
Right, which is why I'm questioning if I even want to attempt solo practice.

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Nony
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by Nony » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:29 am

You said you dislike being a cog in a wheel. Do you dislike being behind the scenes being invisible as opposed to being in court taking action yourself? Do you dislike feeling like you’re just applying stuff other people have decided? Or do you dislike the isolation of chambers? Or the lack of variety in the work?

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Skers
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by Skers » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:30 am

To be honest dude, I think you just got to do a little soul searching and IDK if any of us can really help you. I think it's impossible to avoid being a cog in the wheel in pretty much any organizational setting, legal or not.

CS1775
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by CS1775 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:37 am

Nony wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:29 am
You said you dislike being a cog in a wheel. Do you dislike being behind the scenes being invisible as opposed to being in court taking action yourself? Do you dislike feeling like you’re just applying stuff other people have decided? Or do you dislike the isolation of chambers? Or the lack of variety in the work?
I'm a naturally introverted person, so the isolation and behind-the-scenes nature of clerking is something I greatly appreciate. Your second question is more of what bothers me, though. I want more agency over my professional life.

CS1775
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by CS1775 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:39 am

Skers wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:30 am
To be honest dude, I think you just got to do a little soul searching and IDK if any of us can really help you. I think it's impossible to avoid being a cog in the wheel in pretty much any organizational setting, legal or not.
You're 100% right - I'm just trying to organize my thoughts and posting helps with that.

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blueapple
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Re: Clerking's killed my interest in practicing law

Post by blueapple » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:11 am

I work in an investigatory area in government and, based on some of what you've said here, I think you might like a lot of the aspects of this kind of work. Almost all of my time is spent reading and writing (but can also conduct as many or as few interviews as you want). I control my own docket in that I am able to decide if something is worth investigating further or if the case should be closed and I control the entirety of the investigation. My cases are my own and so I don't need to coordinate with anyone else (but can obviously seek out guidance if I want or need help). This work also has a lot of the feel-good and client-communication aspects of direct service work without most of the "emotional rollercoaster" feelings -- I thought I wanted to go into legal aid until a fellowship after law school helped me realize I was too sensitive to enjoy that kind of work long-term.

Things that may be cons to you: not prestigious & lower salary etc. than working at a firm

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