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September 14, 2009: My Third and Final Year
Joseph A. Marutollo
September 14, 2009
My Third and Final Year
With the advent of my third and final year at Pace Law School, I am excited about the prospects of graduating and I am grateful for the many opportunities that Pace has provided me. Through my work as a Dean's Scholar this semester, however, I am reminded of the many challenges and obstacles that law students face on a daily level.
The Dean's Scholar program is designed to help first-year law students prepare and comprehend course material. I was fortunate to be selected as a Torts Dean's Scholar, where I assist first-year students on topics ranging from negligence to defamation. Upon speaking to a few of the 1Ls in my assigned section, I was struck by their fear about the future. The 1Ls had the standard law school fears down pat: worrying about being called on in class to discuss a difficult case, expressing uncertainty about whether their outlines were sufficient, and fretting about whether they had enough hours in the day to dedicate to studying. I tried to calm their fears with tips on organization, study habits, and preparation. Yet, the 1Ls' greatest fear was something truly serious: the ramifications of the current economic recession. The concern often boils down to a single question: will they have a job when they graduate from law school?
While the Class of 2010 is certainly not being spared the difficult job market, most market analysts believe that the Class of 2011 and 2012 will face the greater burden in applying for legal positions. Deferred summer internships and start dates may play havoc on employment offers and permanent positions. The 1Ls in my Dean's Scholar sessions are very worried about the future. Yet, they must remember a few important points.
First and foremost, we should not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. While this is indeed very difficult to do, we need to have the serenity to accept things out of our control while working as hard as possible for things within our control. Although the job market may continue to be daunting for years to come, diligence and dedication to studies will invariably lead to a strong legal career.
According to the historian Ronald C. White, a struggling law student once asked Abraham Lincoln for advice on a career in the law. President Lincoln told the student that, "[o]btaining a thorough knowledge of the law . . . is very simple, though laborious and tedious. It is only to get the books, and read and study them carefully. . . work, work, work is the main thing." Working hard translates to a better understanding of the law and of the legal profession. Moreover, by working to the best of one's abilities, only good things can result. As another esteemed former president, Thomas Jefferson, once said, "the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." With hard work, I am confident that all Pace students will excel in the years ahead.