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The Indecisive Law Graduate’s First Year out of Law School

Student thinking

It’s just over a year since I finished my law degree. At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but one thing was certain: I was definitely not going to be a lawyer, not for all the Freddo Frogs in the world.

My post-uni plan was simple: get on a plane, fly to the US for four months and hope that my dream career would suddenly reveal itself to me. The only thing I discovered was that directionless and/or disillusioned law graduates are everywhere: at my New Orleans hostel, eating at the table next to me at IHOP (aka International House of Pancakes) in Harlem, etc.

When my international human rights lawyer ambitions departed early in second year, it left a vacuum in the career aspirations department. I hoped it would be filled when clerkships came around, but it wasn’t. Then I figured that by the end of final year I’d have it worked out, but that moment never came… and for a while I totally freaked out.

I heard my friends’ stories about long hours and strange clients and decided that I was falling behind. Everyone else seemed to be progressing in their careers and it was frustrating to feel like I was wasting time.

In my first year out of law school I considered a range of career options: midwife, spy, milliner, funeral director, novelist, etc. I also thought about postgrad study and becoming a career student, thereby permanently avoiding ever having to work out what I want to do with my life.

I’m currently self-employed, trying to write a book and doing some freelance writing on the side. Some days it’s slightly terrifying, but I enjoy it.

My first year out of law school has been pretty confusing. There’s been a lot of self-discovery, but that flash of career inspiration that I’ve been looking for over the past 12 months never came. I was hoping to find some all-consuming passion that I was completely driven to do. But maybe that doesn’t happen to everyone. Or maybe the careers counselors are right and we’re all destined to change careers at least five times in our lives. Who knows? Perhaps I’ll even end up working as a lawyer one day.

So there you have it. After a year out of law school I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. But I figure life has a funny way of working things out and so long as I’m doing something that interests me, I’m unlikely to ultimately end up in a career that I hate. I’ll let you know how it works out.

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