My Shingle

What They Don’t Teach At Harvard Law School

by Carolyn Elefant on September 19, 2005 · 8 comments

in Legal Profession Trends, Solo Out of Law School, Solo Practice Trends

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The Harvard Law School newspaper put out a career guide which included all kinds of articles like Why Not to Be A Government Lawyer (as a former FERC attorney, I’ve got to agree with that one), the downside of biglaw and careers in public interest. Sorely missing from the list of possibilities is the one that’s My Shingle’s raison d’etre:  starting your own practice.  Maybe to figure that one out, you need to have graduated from another Boston area school like Alice of a Mad Tea Party who’s just revealed her identity as a recent BU law grad who’s gone solo. (hat tip to Denise Howell for the link).

  • http://countylaw.blogspot.com Sheryl

    Could not disagree more about government attorney life! I note with some sense of inevitability that the author spent his summer suing the government – not that there’s anything wrong with that [/seinfeld] but it’s highly suggestive of a preexisting bias. Of course, who better to point out the downsides – whether they actually exist or not – than someone biased against the subject? There’s a lot wrong in that article and there’s a WHOLE lot more missing. I won’t commandeer your blog to point it out, but for those who might be nodding and making future plans, I say – don’t discount public employment just yet. There may be really good reasons not to be a government lawyer at all or anymore – for instance, the reason I hang out here is my own nascent itch to be my own boss and hang out that proverbial shingle – but those reasons bear little similarity to the comments in the first article, in my experience.

  • http://countylaw.blogspot.com Sheryl

    Could not disagree more about government attorney life! I note with some sense of inevitability that the author spent his summer suing the government – not that there’s anything wrong with that [/seinfeld] but it’s highly suggestive of a preexisting bias. Of course, who better to point out the downsides – whether they actually exist or not – than someone biased against the subject? There’s a lot wrong in that article and there’s a WHOLE lot more missing. I won’t commandeer your blog to point it out, but for those who might be nodding and making future plans, I say – don’t discount public employment just yet. There may be really good reasons not to be a government lawyer at all or anymore – for instance, the reason I hang out here is my own nascent itch to be my own boss and hang out that proverbial shingle – but those reasons bear little similarity to the comments in the first article, in my experience.

  • http://67.225.230.212/~sh1ngl3 Carolyn Elefant

    Sheryl’s point above is well taken. There are two sides to the story of being a government lawyer. Much, as with anything, is both agency and supervisor dependent. I know that many of my colleagues who’ve worked at Department of Justice and relished their time there as well as the experience and training gained. And while at FERC, I enjoyed fielding calls from the public and advising the technical staff; I just couldn’t abide the bureaucracy of my particular office.

  • http://67.225.230.212/~sh1ngl3 Carolyn Elefant

    Sheryl’s point above is well taken. There are two sides to the story of being a government lawyer. Much, as with anything, is both agency and supervisor dependent. I know that many of my colleagues who’ve worked at Department of Justice and relished their time there as well as the experience and training gained. And while at FERC, I enjoyed fielding calls from the public and advising the technical staff; I just couldn’t abide the bureaucracy of my particular office.

  • http://tcattorney.typepad.com/ip/ Enrico Schaefer

    I love this quote: “Actually the first few days as a summer associate, as I sat at my computer looking through Lexis with highlighters in hand and a few piles of cases and a Bluebook by my side, I had a strange feeling of deja vu. Wait a minute…wasn’t I doing this just a week ago in my dorm room?”
    It is too bad that the only way to know what a lawyer does for real is to start practicing law for real. The SA programs at BIGLAW are an illusion.

  • http://tcattorney.typepad.com/ip/ Enrico Schaefer

    I love this quote: “Actually the first few days as a summer associate, as I sat at my computer looking through Lexis with highlighters in hand and a few piles of cases and a Bluebook by my side, I had a strange feeling of deja vu. Wait a minute…wasn’t I doing this just a week ago in my dorm room?”
    It is too bad that the only way to know what a lawyer does for real is to start practicing law for real. The SA programs at BIGLAW are an illusion.

  • http://www.gotbrandy.com/2005/09/what_a_party.html bk!

    what a party!

    Thanks go out to everyone who noticed my brand new blog! What an amazing response! Besides all the people who’ve linked, there have been so many more that have emailed to express their good wishes. Thank you! Also check out…

  • http://www.gotbrandy.com/2005/09/what_a_party.html bk!

    what a party!

    Thanks go out to everyone who noticed my brand new blog! What an amazing response! Besides all the people who’ve linked, there have been so many more that have emailed to express their good wishes. Thank you! Also check out…

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