What should I do with my life post law school?
January 5, 2008 11:58 AM Subscribe
Another chapter in the ongoing saga of "what should notjustfoxybrown do with her law degree since she really, really doesn't want to retake the bar exam but feels societal pressure to do so."
posted by notjustfoxybrown to work & money (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Please forgive the length of this question. Brevity was only my strong point when I was a reporter.
To recap previous chapters:
Graduated law school in Florida in 2004. Took and failed the bar exam...OK...Twice... (Sick the first time, living with a sick man the second time.) Worked in state government and public affairs for awhile before making the mistake of joining the family business here in Phoenix.
I'm ready to move on to something else and am currently on the finalist list for a job in regulatory compliance that will pay well, offer the chance to work for someone who seems like an awfully kind and funny man, learn a new skill and most importantly, have an actual life...or as close to an approximation as I can living in Phoenix. The latter is hard to do when your mom is your boss and can call you at any time.
I originally applied for the compliance job because it is mostly a 9 to 5 and would give me the opportunity to study for the bar after work. I'm told that it also offers a flex schedule and I could come in early and leave early if I so chose.
I would be studying for the bar only because I'm afraid that I'll never reach my full income potential without this license. I don't intend to practice ... but I might want to do something part-time...I'm still figuring that out.
Most of the jobs that I've applied for have been in public affairs/government relations because I seemed to enjoy that work most but I've found it damn near impossible to find such a job here in Phoenix ... and I really dislike D.C. so while that might be a logical choice, it won't work for me. I'd eventually like to live in L.A. and have applied for a couple of jobs there but honestly, I'd like to stay in Phoenix long enough to save money before making the L.A. leap.
I've struggled with the career issues for years (as well as with the curse of the noonday demon) and have always been pretty much saddened by the outcomes I've chosen. I think I'd be a fine attorney though I don't know whether I can muster the discipline and drive it would take to sit for this exam again.
I've had this thing hanging over my head for years now. There are so many other things I'd like to be doing with my life for the next six months (which is how much time my newly hired tutor said I would need to study for the Arizona Bar since I'm coming from out of state). I'd like to start singing again and working on my writing, improve my cooking skills, maybe make some new friends and get serious about looking for a long-term relationship...all things I'd have to put on hold while I studied for this damn test...again.
I earlier alluded to the societal pressure to resit but I think some of it is simply me feeling like a failure because I've not taken the traditional post-law school route. I was a non-traditional student and had a decade-long journalism career before starting my J.D. I've been pretty fortunate with the job market (although haven't had any bites from L.A.) I'd only be taking it to be licensed somewhere since I clearly don't want to stay in Arizona.
So the questions (and believe me there are many...just pick one you think you might be able to answser.):
1. What lucrative career path might I take without retaking this bar exam? It is only important that it be lucrative because I'm a single woman, late 30s, and I don't know how soon that will change (the single thing, not the age thing. That will change in June.)
2. I know there have been several posts about not tying your self-worth to your job ... and I'm trying really hard not to... but what's a good standard line I might give to people who say, "You went to law school? Why aren't you a lawyer?"
3. Will I regret choosing quality of life over slaving away at a firm? I don't think I will but money does indeed buy a certain amount of freedom.
Thanks for listening to the ramblings of a madwoman.