We’re back with another guest post for Summer Series 2020! Summer Series is a way to learn from other Lawtinas about their summers and to see all the ways you can use your law degree. Today we hear from Anna, a rising 3L who is interning, remotely, with a non-profit. She is grappling with figuring out the next steps in her career and how covid has made a huge impact. While it is not easy, her ability to remain open-minded and flexible in what the potential next step could be is allowing her to be receptive to any and all new opportunities that may come her way. Take it away, Anna!
What do you want to do? This is a question that is currently plaguing me. I am feeling so much pressure especially heading into my 3L year.
I’m one of those people that knew from a very young age that I wanted to go to law school. After my undergrad I honestly did not feel ready to go to law school, instead I decided to work full time and during that time I got my MBA. The job I was at was leading nowhere, and I was feeling very bored. I thought this was the time to apply to law school and move on to the next phase of my life.
When applying and entering law school I was 100% certain that I was going to be an immigration attorney. I wanted to help the immigrant community, and make sure that people and the system was not taking unfair advantage of them. Then law school happened, and honestly it was not at all what I expected. No matter what past attorneys or current law student tell you, you will never be fully prepared for it or know what it’s like until you are in the thick of it.
My first year of law school was honestly about surviving and trying to catch on to what I was doing. My learning curve was steep, and I didn’t get the grades I was expecting from myself and my past performance, thank you curve. Then came time to start applying to summer clerkships. There was clerkship program where we could apply and be placed where they would pay us our first summer. The interesting thing was that we couldn’t select where we would end up, it was more the firms deciding who got who.
That first summer I ended up working at a civil defense firm. Honestly when going to law school I never even considered working for big law. I even thought I would hate it, I had previous experience working in corporate finance and didn’t really like it. What happened was that I really enjoyed it! I was able to work with various attorneys in different areas and really enjoyed my time there. This experience completely turned my expectations of what I wanted in a legal career upside down.
When prepping for my second summer I was very intentional of looking for work in a non-profit and that it needed to be paid. I could not afford to work for free during the summer and was very upfront when applying. I was able to find a great immigration non-profit to work with and they even provided me with a fellowship.
Like most people COVID completely changed my work for this summer. I was supposed to be traveling to rural areas of the state to create partnerships to better identify Human Trafficking. Now we are all working remotely, from home. This change has also impacted my ability to discover if immigration is where I want to work. I feel like I’m not getting the full experience of what I wanted to discover this summer. So now I feel even more confused of what I want to do after law school.
Instead of solidifying what I wanted to do after law school now I feel more conflicted. Do I want to stay on track and continue pursuing immigration or do I want to branch out and try something I had never even considered? There are so many options for after law school and now I feel like I need to consider them. Not that I don’t want to work in immigration, but I also don’t want to limit myself to it.
My next steps are reaching out to mentors, applying to different jobs, fellowships and focus on my 3L year. Also, why is there such a pressure to figure out what we will be doing after law school the summer before it even ends? There is so much to do our final year of law school, complete classes, legal clinic, graduation, bar exam and extracurriculars.
My advice to future/current law students, plan and be prepared but also be flexible. Be open to new experiences and opportunities. You may know what you want to do, but don’t let that limit other opportunities. Also, don’t limit yourself in potential, allow yourself to try things you wouldn’t consider, it may teach your something unexpected.
Finally, remember you can do this, and you do belong in the legal field! We need more Latinas in the field!
Si se puede!