What’s Next? Tips for New Law School Graduates

You did it!  You got through the long hours of study, the grueling exams, and the years of hard work. So what comes after you graduate from law school? Many new grads find themselves flailing after completing law school. When the daily scholastic routine vanishes and the structure is removed, many new grads ask themselves, “What’s next?”  If you can relate, here are a few tips to put that fresh law degree to work for you right after you graduate.

Get a Job

This is a no-brainer, right?  It would seem the logical next step after graduation is to find legal jobs that fit your academic credentials and aspirations. This is especially true if, like many graduates, you’re swimming in school loans.  Aside from helping with your financial situation, getting a job right after law school can also get your feet wet in terms of using your law degree in the “real world.”

Be aware, however, that the competition can be steep, and new grads often experience challenges getting hired due to lack of experience.  If you have connections and the right experience, you might be able to go straight into an in-house position.  More likely, you might find yourself starting out in a more modest position.

For instance, you might opt to seek employment from small law firms right after graduation. The pay might not be the greatest, but it’s a good place to gain experience and usher in your new career. You might also try getting work in your local government as a judicial clerk or staff attorney.

Pass the Bar

Because many jobs don’t require you to be an Esquire (licensed attorney) to use your new law degree, you might be wondering if you should take the bar exam or not.  Your choice to take the bar depends upon where you see yourself in your career.  For instance, if it’s always been your dream to be a high-powered defense attorney, then that will require you to take the bar.

However, if your vision is unclear about what you want to do, you may opt not to take the exam.  In any case, many new grads choose to take the bar exam right after graduation while they’re still in “study mode” and all that legal information is still fresh in their minds. Still others choose to take the bar after graduating just to get it over with and have that credential in their back pocket in case they need it for the future.

Get an Internship

If you’re really flummoxed about what to do after graduating from law school you might want to apply for an internship.  Every internship is different depending upon where you apply. For example, most internships do not pay for the time you work, yet some do.  Some firms require applicants to pass the bar before they consider them as interns – but this isn’t the case for all law firms.

Whatever the scenario, the point of an internship is to gain valuable experience while working beneath a master’s in the legal realm.  Furthermore, an internship from a prestigious law firm is an impressive addition to your resume for future positions.  Then there is always the possibility the firm you’re interning for offers you a paid position.

Go Traveling

This might seem counterintuitive, but if you’re seriously burned out after graduation you may benefit from a trip abroad.  You may even find yourself learning more about how the law works in different cultures and countries. This could radically change the vision you once had for yourself after graduation.

For instance, you may observe the travesties endured by certain underprivileged communities and become inspired to use your law degree to represent these people in need.  Or, you might even find yourself fascinated with public international law while traveling.  All this to say, travel has a magical way of opening the mind, and rendering clarity.  So, if you need perspective, taking time out for travel after school might be right up your alley.

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The Last Word on What to Do After Law School

In conclusion, there is no limit to the opportunities and possibilities in store for you after you graduate from law school.  Whether you have a solid plan for your future or find yourself floundering – your future is a bright one. Why? Because you can apply your law degree in so many useful and meaningful ways.  Above all else, take time to recognize your accomplishment in graduating, and go easy on yourself as you find your ideal place in the world after law school.