Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Playtime Is Over

For the past week or so, I have been tweaking my cover letter, resume, and personal statement all for the sole purpose of securing a plum summer position. I have been waking up at oh-dark-thirty to review and revise my application packet so that it both elicits the right amount of feeling on the part of the interviewer without sounding too desperate.

Aside from the obvious reason of having a good application packet - putting your best foot forward and all that - I am competing against approximately fifty other students for approximately twenty-three summer positions with some of Denver's largest law firms. I am popping Tums because my stomach is in knots a little anxious, but probably not as anxious as those of you competing against a much larger applicant pool.

Why am I only competing only fifty other students? Because that is the number of diverse first-year students - students of color, LGBT, and disabled students - currently enrolled in both of the Colorado's law schools who are eligible to participate in the diversity program. Discount the approximately 25% of people who probably do not participate and my competition is down to thirty-seven. Thirty-seven first years who probably have very little corporate or real-world experience; the average age of 1Ls at my school is twenty-four.

Before you ask: Yes, I am a second-year but I began my studies in the law school's Evening part-time program before transferring to the Day division. I should have graduated last week, or at the very latest in May 2007, with my fellow section mates, but I took year off from school after giving birth to Bubba and went back on a reduced schedule.

So, I have one more year to go because I chose to enjoy my pregnancy and my baby, which I knew that I could not do, let alone stay on a good nursing schedule, while running around as a frantic 2L. I just shake my head at my section mates who think they will be able to "fit in" pregnancy and parenting while working seven days a week. Yes, seven days. I am not exaggerating the workload. Many of my friends who summered at large firms worked twelve hours per day for six, sometimes seven, days of the week. Only one didn't get an offer of employment because - well - she balked a bit at giving up so much of her life to her firm and they knew it. No offer for you! Personally, I think she's better off.

So, why am I hoping to land a summer job if the workload is so atrocious? Well, with odds like 1 in 37, I would be stupid if I didn't go for a slot. Also, Colorado, especially Boulder county is expensive. It takes some scratch to live here. Law firms know this which is why starting salaries are high around here. Not as high as the salaries on the coasts, but $105k is as good as gold to someone like me who grew up in a household where items regularly disappeared to the pawn shop around the first of the month.

Since I do not want to debate the issue of Affirmative Action, comments are disabled. Feel free to read or share this post, but I will not respond to hate mail. I will probably post it for all to read, though. My official stance: Diversity initiatives exist because law firms are not keeping up with the changing face of commerce. Don't believe me? Just ask Delta Airlines, Sara Lee, Shell, Wells Fargo or Sony Corp.