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March 9th, 2010:

Geek Quest

I want to find my people in the legal world, and by “my people” I mean my fellow geeks.  As it’s been told to me, getting a job after law school isn’t about what you know, but who you know.  This isn’t new information.  One of my mentors said at the beginning of my professional career that 85% of getting a job is networking.

I am a geek
Image by Julia Roy via Flickr

The second year of law school is the time to make contact with the firm you want to work for after graduation.  Ideally, you work for the firm during your 2L summer and get an offer at the end of the summer for a job after graduation.  I want to work for a firm that does intellectual property (IP) work.  My goal is to meet lawyers who are geeks like me.  I want to meet other geeky IP lawyers who can’t change the fact that they’re geeks and make it work for them as lawyers.  I want to work for a firm where geeks are accepted and applauded.  I sent an email to an IP lawyer in Phoenix asking for his recommendations about who I should meet.

My IP lawyer friend said he doesn’t know any geeky IP lawyers and that all the geeks he knows are scientists and engineers.  His only advice was most firms give their lawyers “great latitude to do whatever you want outside the office, as long as you do excellent work.”  I was a little sad to hear that an IP lawyer, of all people, didn’t know any geek lawyers.  I refuse to believe that there aren’t any geeks out there…it will just take some effort to find them.

On a happy note, I was so relieved to meet a lawyer who truly had passion for practicing law, and it wasn’t about getting rich.  He spent over an hour with my fellow interns and me talking about how important it is to not sacrifice your soul, personality, or hobbies for the sake of your career.

So my quest continues to find my fellow geeks.  I want to meet lawyers who understand the joy of celebrating science holidays, who understand the importance of making the pilgrimage to the future birthplace of Captain Kirk, and who understand why I want to have a koosh ball on my desk instead of a paperweight.

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