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Law grads look forward to 'next step' in life

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Graduating from law school is no simple feat. For many students participating in commencement ceremonies this spring, leaving the law school halls with degrees in-hand will mark one of their greatest accomplishments thus far. While it’s an exciting time, new challenges abound.

Landing a job

The transition from law school to the real world is a little easier when you’ve got a job lined up.

Luke Fields, of Brownsburg, Ind., is graduating from Indiana University Maurer School of Law and will soon begin working for a large law firm in Washington, D.C.
 

graduating-15col.jpg Service dogs trained through the Indiana Canine Assistance Network visited Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law to provide stress relief to law students in the midst of final exams. Students Jen Rosser, left, and Kelsey Keller enjoy a moment with Gracie. (Photo submitted)

“That was my goal coming in,” Fields said, adding that he sees scholastic success and participation in on-campus interviews as keys to landing a good job.

For Kate Flood, of Indianapolis, obtaining summer employment seemed a little too easy. The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law student watched for job opportunities through the Office of Professional Development’s online career center and saw a posting by a solo practitioner in need of help at a family law practice. She sent a résumé, interviewed and was hired for the summer, with the possibility of staying on after passing the bar. Flood will be working on family law issues including dissolution, child support and child custody matters.

“This is where I want to start,” she said. “I just realized the other day that I went to school to be a lawyer, and I am going to be one. That’s pretty cool.”

School programs prepare students

Many law students rely on what they have learned in law school to ease the transition from student to practicing lawyer.
 

katherine flood Flood

Valparaiso University Law School Dean Jay Conison said the law school tries to help make the transition process smoother for students through mentoring programs, bar preparation courses and encouraging interaction between students and alumni.

“There is a pretty strong culture among our faculty of addressing students’ needs in knowing what is involved in transition,” he said, adding students also have opportunities to participate in externships and clinics where they gain practical hands-on experience.

Kasie Gorosh, of West Bloomfield, Mich., immersed herself in student activities and involvement at Maurer School of Law and began preparing for the transition from law school to a legal career from day one. She will sit for the Michigan bar exam and clerk for a judge in late summer.


mercedes rodriguez Rodriguez

Mercedes Rodriguez, of Indianapolis, who is graduating from the Robert H. McKinney School of Law, also took advantage of the law school’s in-house and community programs to hone the skills needed to practice law. Rodriguez enjoyed working for the law school’s immigration clinic, which receives referrals from The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic in Indianapolis.

“I have grown a lot as an individual during these years,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like I have become a much more outgoing person than I used to be, and a lot more assertive than I used to be.”
 

Family matters

With graduation and searching for, or starting, a new job comes the often-discussed challenge of work-life balance. Embarking on a legal career means considering relocating and making other choices that may influence a new lawyer’s professional and personal life.

 


maurice scott Scott

Maurice Scott, from Brunswick, Ga., is graduating from Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He doesn’t have a summer job lined up yet, but he is optimistic and does have some promising lunch meetings scheduled. He hopes to work in some sort of administrative capacity.

After sitting for the Indiana bar exam, Scott has another life-changing event scheduled – he’s getting married in August.

Scott is excited about the approaching nuptials, but admitted it is hard to concentrate on wedding planning while also job hunting and preparing for the bar.

Some grads are packing their bags and saying goodbye. Fields, who has lived in Indiana his whole life, said that one of the main challenges he faces is leaving home.

“This is a wonderful place to have been raised,” Fields said. “Indiana will always be home.”

The big test

Bar exam preparation is of utmost importance to law school grads. Some students turn to outside organizations to get ready for the big test. Rodriguez has signed up for a bar review course through BarBri; Scott will be reviewing for the Indiana bar exam in live morning sessions with the help of the IndyBar Review, the official bar exam review course of the Indianapolis Bar Association.

“There is something special about the bar exam that I have never encountered in another test,” said Fields, who will sit for the Indiana bar this summer. “It all boils down to one exam. It’s a daunting thing because it is such a critical part of entering the profession.”

For Flood, it’s all about time management.

“I’m not sure how to balance studying for the bar and working,” she admitted. But she added she is happy to be able to earn money and experience this summer.

“I didn’t want to have to take out a bar loan, those are like desperation loans,” Flood said of the loans available to those studying for the bar, which generally carry much higher interest rates than government student loans.

Financial matters

Student loan concerns, for many new grads, remain on the back burner for now. Some take comfort in the fact that student loans can be deferred for several months after graduation and that there are repayment options.

Scott has student loans to repay, but he isn’t letting that get to him. Before going to law school, he read the autobiography of United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He took some comfort in the fact that Thomas didn’t finish paying off his own student loans until 1990, although he graduated from law school in the 1970s.

Student loans are not Fields’ main concern right now, either. They were a necessary element of earning a law degree and, at this stage in the game, are viewed as one part of the professional degree process.

“The debt I have taken on to get a law degree absolutely will be an investment worth every dollar,” he said.

The great unknown

Fear of the unknown, for many graduating students, is what concerns them most.

“I am excited to graduate, I just don’t like the uncertainty of not knowing what’s next,” Rodriguez said.

Although she doesn’t know what the immediate future holds, Rodriguez has a clear picture of what type of law she’d like to practice.

“I am looking in the areas I am interested in working, which are immigration law or working in a nonprofit setting,” she said. “I also would be interested in criminal law, and so I’ve been sending out materials but have had limited success.”

While Fields said he is happy with his law school education and the opportunities he has been afforded, he acknowledged that entering the legal field today has challenges.

“I think it has been a fascinating time to be a law student,” Fields said. “A lot of things are in shift in the national economy and the law has not been exempt from that.”

Scott continues to job hunt. For him, it’s about remaining optimistic.

“I wouldn’t change a thing. I enjoyed law school. It was stressful – a lot of sleepless nights. I’m excited to have the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned,” Scott said. “I came to law school to help people. I get to get out there and, I hate to sound cliché, change the world.”•

__________

Terrie Henderson-Stockton is a 3L at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and graduates in 2012.

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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