Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Today I finished reading "Broken Contract," by Richard Kahlenberg, one of two "famous" memoirs of life as a law student at Harvard (Scott Turow's "One L" being the other one -- and next on my reading list). Interesting -- basically asking the question "how can someone balance being a liberal with being a lawyer?" Spends a lot of time talking about the recruiting process -- the pressure to go to a big corporate law firm. And how easy it is to make that choice, as opposed to going into public service or anything else. Not just because of the salaries, but because they're there, on campus, wooing people, while the other jobs don't need to do that.

Just like college -- the investment banks and consulting firms have to come to campus and recruit, and they have to offer tremendous salaries, because without that, no one will take the jobs. The good jobs -- not financially, but in terms of quality of life, fulfillment, etc -- don't need to pay huge salaries, and certainly don't need to come to campus to recruit, because people will seek them out and those jobs will be filled regardless. Thinking about it that way kind of illustrates, at least for me, how bad some of these investment banking and similar jobs must be, considering all they need to do. People are lining up to find entry-level administrative assistant jobs in advertising for $18,000 a year, without ad agencies needing to recruit like mad, but McKinsey has to wine and dine students on campuses across the country -- using significant time and money for the recruiting process -- and still as to pay people $75,000 a year to start.

Do I have any idea if I will end up at a corporate law firm? No, not now. The idea doesn't sound that thrilling, but I can't say I look around and see lots of my friends with jobs I envy. Sure, there are awesome jobs out there (and of course my list of what's awesome is sure to be different from most other people's) -- writing for Saturday Night Live, being a working songwriter, writing speeches for politicians would be cool -- but what's the easy path to get there? Scary thought is just like law school serves as a fine way to postpone finding the "path to adult career-hood" for three more years, I could certainly envision graduating and feeling like spending a few years at a big law firm would serve the same function -- and then where does it end? If everything's a fine way to postpone actually having to seek out what will truly bring fulfillment, you never quite get there.

That's a little too deep for the fourth entry in a weblog, I know. To my loyal audience of one (hi, mom!), I promise something lighter tomorrow.