You know what’s terrifying? Seeing your life stretched out you in a single line. Seeing a life of conformity where you just get shoved into the lines along with everyone around you as if you were the same as a bunch of cattle. It’s terrifying to see the normal spectrum and range of lives that form the average standard of what people doing what you yourself are doing right now are expected to be doing in the future. This conformist life lends itself very well to many of those people and their wants and desires in life. This same conformity terrifies me.
Currently I’m in the process of ranking law firms for Early Interview Week (EIW). So Georgetown Law organizes this giant event for rising 2Ls (law students who have just completed their first year of law school and first summer of legal internships, typically) where the school brings in literally hundreds of law firms from across the country to come interview the current rising 2L students at Georgetown. These interviews are for summer internships that would occur between 2L and 3L; in other words, these interview are potentially for the only other internship a law student could get before moving out into the actual legal job market.
The way a lot of firms are working these days, if I understand correctly, is they hire interns for their 2L-3L summer and then at the end of the summer hire some of those interns on as full firm attorneys, provided they finish up their third year of law school strongly. This is terrifying for a number of reasons. Firstly, this timeline means that the firms I am interviewing for in a month and a half are potentially the firms that might hire me for a summer internship for next summer and subsequently have the option of hiring me on as post-law school. Essentially, EIW is an interview for not just an internship but also for an actual legal job as an attorney.
Currently I am going through the list of environmental law firms in D.C. and looking into which firms I should be bidding for. Essentially the bidding process allows participating law students to place a bid for whichever firm they want to interview with specifically. You have a bidding limit of 50 firms you can bid for.
I’ve currently narrowed down my search to firms that are only environmental firms in D.C., as I hopefully plan on staying in the D.C. area in the long term and have no intentions of leaving in the short term. As I’m going through these firms’ websites, I’m struck over and over again with how different every single one of them is from what I want to do. To be fair, I haven’t even managed to get through a quarter of them yet – and hopefully there are a few firms that might be good fits for me – but the environmental work most of these law firms seem to do just do not interest me in the least.
Part of the thing about EIW and interviewing for firms is that firms are not for everyone. Legal firms do specific things and have specific styles that don’t necessarily mesh well with a given individual’s personality. I very much suspect that I am one of those people. However, I don’t want to rule out the possibility and maybe I will find that firm life is actually something I really enjoy and I will simply through myself into it if given the chance. It’s hard to know without being somewhere whether or not you are actually a good fit for the situation.
I also realize now at this point how little I actually know about environmental law. I think my initial intuition – prior to even beginning law school – to pursue maritime law might have been a somewhat correct intuition. The sectors and fields under these law firms’ environmental areas have a lot to do with energy or chemicals or clean water or other such things. I’m in no way saying those things aren’t important. They are just things I have absolutely no interest in. And it’s scary to realize I have no idea how to get to a career I want to do, or even if such a career exists.
Bidding on these firms is just the first step in a whole process that may very well amount to absolutely nothing in terms of my life, but it could also end up being the first step in a process that decides the next several years of my career for me before I even fully understand what that career path entails. There is no learning like learning through experience, but even so, this whole process is definitely an anxiety-producing process that I cannot wait to be done with.