Real Jobs: Michael A. Makinde

Today is Friday, which typically is the slowest day for law firms. Today all the courts are also closed in memory of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. This means there was very little activity in the office.

I wanted to take an opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed participating in this project over the last week. I think this blog is a very useful tool and I hope it is something that continues to grow going forward. I wish there was a resource such as this when I was an undergrad.

A good friend of mine named Brian DaSilva (BC ’07) and I drafted 7simple mantras to life a few years ago. I hope that we will one day turn them into a small book for your coffee table. However, one of these tenants basically states that if you take the time to plan ahead you will never get left behind.

Here are some final parting bits of advice:

1.     Ask you roommates and friends what their parents do for a living.

2.     Get to know your professors in your favorite classes. Ask your professors what they did before they taught.

3.     Get very familiar with Excel and Outlook.

4.     Make a 5-year plan as early as your junior year. This doesn’t have to be a blueprint filled with details but certainly pick a goal (or goals) and chart a course; give yourself plenty of wiggle room and always have a plan B… Just in case.

5.     Find a mentor- you will need one along the way.

6.     If you do work as a paralegal, you should take the exam to become a notary. Your firm will probably sponsor you.

7.     You should attend some of the CLE’s (Continuing Legal Education) that are offered to the attorneys at your firm, especially if you do want to attend law school.

8.     Many people panic about trying to balance work with preparing for the LSAT and applying to law school. I won’t lie, it is a tall task but one that is achievable. You will have plenty of time to get ready as long as you make it. In this endeavor, time is the most valuable commodity.

9.     And of course, while you are still in school, get into your Career Center early and often.  They are very talented people who will help you as much as they can.  If your network is small, they can be a great starting point to help you reach out.

Finally, as long as I can remember I’ve been intrigued by the law. Somewhere between the O.J. Simpson trial, Slobodan Milosevic, Jack Kevorkian, Terri Schiavo, the Mendez brothers, Elian Gonzalez, the Clinton impeachment proceedings and Roe v. Wade, I became fascinated by it. These were all captivating human dramas wrapped around complex legal issues. I remember racing home from school and watching hours and hours of news coverage of these great issues with my father, both of us glued to the TV. I grew up during a dynamic era for the legal field. All of this, coupled with shows like Law and Order and its 723 spin-offs, reeled me in further. As silly as this sounds, this imparted on me the knowledge of the ability of the law to not only change individual’s lives but to immensely change the course of history. This is why I decided to pursue this field. If you are thinking of doing the same then you should ask yourself three questions:

1. Is this your dream? (not your parent’s, or your girlfriend’s dreams)

2.  If so, why?

3. What do you want to do with your law degree?

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