Submitted by KendraBeckwith
Thirty-six hours before I was supposed to start my first “real” legal job, I got a phone call. The firm could no longer afford to hire me. Suddenly, I was jobless. And $120,000 in debt.
The crash of 2008 was tough for all job seekers. As one of many with a law degree and a big loan to repay, the recession taught me a very important lesson: to survive as a lawyer, you have to be tenacious—and persistent, and stubborn—in advocating for yourself. Had I not held firm to this value, I would not be where I am today.
THE BOTTOM DROPPED OUT
It was September of 2009. I had just completed a year-long clerkship with the Colorado Court of Appeals, taken a couple of post-clerkship trips, and was preparing to start practicing law. I was excited.
To accept the clerkship, I had deferred an offer with the firm where I worked during law school. While I clerked, I was keenly aware that the legal market was changing substantially. Firms with longstanding reputations were folding, law school hiring statistics were plummeting, and lawyers were losing their jobs. It was a scary mess.
To reassure myself, throughout my clerkship I checked in regularly with the firm where I had an offer pending. Each time, I was told the firm was looking forward to hiring me and that things were “just fine.” So I assumed they were.
Then, 36 hours before my start date, I got a phone call from the firm’s managing partner: the firm could not afford to hire me (or the other two colleagues in my associate class), despite all of its representations to the contrary. My stomach sank, my mind reeled, and my bank account screamed: I had just taken a month off and traveled, all on the promise that there was a job waiting for me. And now it was gone.