I sat staring at number 200 of the MBE for at least 10 minutes. My eyes were crossed from the last 12 hours of exam-taking, and I honestly could not read the call of that last question without my train of thought derailing and my concentration burning up in the horrible aftermath. Before I knew it, the proctor was calling time and I had to scribble in a quick bubble that was nothing more than a guess.
Luckily, after only a short two months of carefree waiting (insert as much sarcasm as you prefer here), I received my bar exam results. Thankfully, I passed (insert overzealous fist pump).
The problem was that, while I was officially a lawyer, I was an unemployed one. Over the previous six months I had submitted my resume to literally anyone who would take it. This was an incredibly discouraging time. I kept asking myself, “Why am I not getting a job?”
While in law school, I thought snagging a post-law-school job was going to be a piece of cake. I had done exactly what everyone had told me to do: polished resumes and cover letters, check; law review, check; extracurriculars, check; graduate at least cum laude, check; and on and on, but no job.
Then, without any warning, I received an email from a law professor whom I spent a lot of time with during law school. He informed me that a close friend of his, a partner at a local firm, was looking for a litigation associate. He asked if I had landed a job yet, and if I would be interested in being a litigation associate at an Omaha firm. Before I knew it, I had submitted my resume, interviewed, and landed the position.
Since arriving at the firm, I have been able to focus entirely on litigation, and I love it. The position, however, has countless challenges. One of the greatest challenges is that there never seems to be any clear-cut answers.
In law school, I could reverse-engineer an essay question and leverage the limited facts to support the argument I was making in an exam. But in the real world, the answers seem a lot harder to find, and the facts never seem to be nice and tidy.
The biggest, and perhaps most comforting surprise, has been that I am not the only one who does not have the answers. Everyone, even the most seasoned lawyers, seems to find at least a few head-scratchers in every case.
I know that I am still in the honeymoon phase of being a lawyer, but practicing law has already had some immensely fulfilling moments. Just recently, I drafted a brief in support of a motion to dismiss. Of course, I utilized the beloved CREAC (“Conclusion Rule Explanation Application Conclusion”) method. Then, I was required to attend a hearing to argue why the motion to dismiss should be granted.
At the opening of the hearing the judge began by declaring what a well-organized and well-written brief it was. Even though our client was not there, and even if he had been, he would not have appreciated the all-out effort I had put into my “CREACed” brief. Just knowing that I was able to use what I had learned in law school to great effect felt awesome.
While I am glad that the bar exam is behind me, I am also glad to know that I have a whole career of practicing law ahead of me.
Cory Wilson, a native of west Texas, graduated cum laude last May from Creighton University School of Law. He presented “The Best of Us Will Rebel” at Creighton’s inaugural TedX event in April 2018. He is now an associate at Erickson | Sederstrom where he specializes in litigation including construction law, workers compensation, property disputes, property damage, personal injury and commercial real estate.