What causes a last-minute bailout? What happens when you mix a part-time law clerk with dull work, low pay, a scary file room and a sense that there isn’t a future with a firm? The following is my story. I’m hoping it will prove to be a cautionary tale for some. Perhaps it will inspire others. Or, if nothing else, maybe it will help explain why I felt the need to jump-ship from my firm with less than a week before spring finals.

It was some time in April of my second year of law school. I found myself working at a small firm for $12.50 an hour, doing rather mind-numbing litigation work. Unlike many of my peers who had signed up to work at fancy firms, where the summer associates were treated like precious metals (and paid in similar fashion), I had, in a moment of job-searching desperation, agreed to work in a much less glamorous setting.