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Groucho Marx once said he wouldn’t join a club that would have him as amember. Lucky him. Summer’s gone, and you don’t have a choice. The firm whereyou clerked hasn’t made you an offer. Maybe they don’t need the help. Or maybethey wanted to wait and see who else walked through their door. Or maybe theyjust didn’t like you. Now what? Panic. Not having a job can make you anxious and depressed, but the fact is you’rein good company. Most graduating law students are still unemployed at this timeof the year. Despite the expectations created by Harvard, Yale, and themegafirms of The Am Law 100, few students have a $125,000 job lined up inNovember for the following September. At New York Law School, where I teach,most of our graduating class is unemployed until close to the bar exam. As theywait, the students chew their nails, gnash their teeth, and paper their wallswith rejection letters. The small firms that will eventually employ most of themdon’t have the luxury of hiring 60 new lawyers and waiting a year for them toarrive. The same is true for the law firm where I used to be a partner — a medialaw “boutique” that added about one new lawyer every year. We hired when theneed arose, not when the recruiting season began. So as fall turns to winter, stay calm. This fallow period could be thebeginning of something. If you get a job, great. But if you don’t — which is farmore likely — it’s a good time to hone your r�sum� and practice your interviewingskills. It’s also a chance to re-evaluate your priorities and ask yourselfwhether you would like to work someplace that didn’t want you anyway. Big law firms prey on students’ insecurities by extending job offers early inthe year to cajole the lucky few into a form of indentured servitude for thebulk of their productive years. Career counseling services play into the game byencouraging students to take jobs that overpay but make them miserable, becauseit improves their numbers — which suckers college students into going to lawschool in the first place. (“Three years of school and $125,000 to start? Wheredo I sign?!”) Be grateful you have not been so suckered. Sometimes the only waynot to go through a door is to have someone shut it in your face. Think of unemployment as a form of civil disobedience. And, like all socialprotests, the movement can be slow, frustrating and funky-smelling. As yourr�sum�s come back to you in the form of polite rejection letters, or vanishentirely into the black hole of recruiters’ files, you will question yourmotives and dedication. You will wonder why you ever listened to your Uncle Ned,who insisted the future was in litigation. You will weigh whether it is betterto declare personal bankruptcy or flee to a country that is not a signatory tothe Hague Convention when your debts come due. You will fill out theapplications for film school. (Was Fellini a lawyer?) But just as the deepest,darkest curtain of night descends, a little light will shine through. Everything happens for a purpose. The small firm that finally extends you anoffer two days after you’ve learned you passed the bar exam is part of the granddesign. It turns out you do want to join the club that will have you as amember. It’s not just about your golf swing, or your taste in music, or yourhair — although that helps — it’s about being wanted for who you really are. As inlife, being happy in law is about compatability and full disclosure. Theemployer who can look beyond your C in corporations, who views you as more thanjust another body to throw in the trenches with the documents, who appreciatesyour eclectic dress, is an employer who likes you, who really, really likes you. When they make you an offer, don’t refuse. Join the club. Groucho willunderstand. Cameron Stracher is a professor at the New York University School of Law.

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