"Anonymous Law Graduate" Seeking Career Advice:
In the comment thread to an earlier post on interview advice, an "anonymous law graduate" writes:
  I've always wanted to ask something . . . to you, Eugene, and the VC clan. Maybe this is the place to ask it, and you can decide whether it deserves a post of its own. This is a bit off the subject of interviews, but I expect that what I'm about to ask is far more prevalent among law school graduates than seeking a law professor position, since that is so competitive.
  So here goes: What do you suggest for someone who has graduated, who did well but not great, has a job for the time being, but doesn't yet know what he/she really wants to do? Law school is over, and it didn't lead into a specific direction. The job market is tough, and the chances to try different things are few. So I (and many law school colleagues) am in a job that pays the bills, but not one that is likely to become a career.
  What advice do you give people suffering the post-law school blues? I never thought that I would miss law school, but I do. And in looking back I can see the lost opportunities, but it's too late to change that. So...what should an aimless law grad in a dead-end job do to lay a foundation for a fulfilling legal career, when the options are few?
  Unfortunately I don't think I have any special expertise on this issue, as tremendously important as it is. But I do have two quick thoughts before turning this one over to our commenters, who I hope can add more helpful advice.

  My first thought is that a lot depends on what you enjoy. Different people find different things fulfilling, and I would think the first step is to identify the kinds of things you find fulfilling before knowing what options you may want to take. Okay, so this is probably pretty obvious, but I think it's worth being explicit about it.

  My second thought is to give serious consideration to a career in criminal law. That's easy for me to say, I guess: I teach criminal law and I love the stuff, so it's natural for me to want others to get into the area. But I do think that criminal law is a career that a lot of people would enjoy but that most law students and young lawyers don't consider seriously enough. In my experience, most young lawyers who feel pretty aimless followed the crowds and ended up at law firms; if they wanted to do litigation, they ended up with a civil practice that they find less-than-fulfilling.

  In contrast, folks who went into criminal law usually are excited and passionate about what they do. They deal directly with people and their lives; their strengths, their weaknesses, and the power of the state to step in to discover and punish harmful behavior (or the lack of that power). It's compelling stuff: There's a reason why all the TV shows are about criminal law and not civil procedure. It's not for everyone, I realize, but I think it's an unexplored option for a lot of lawyers who are out in the world and realize they need something more.

  Okay, I'll get off my soap box. Readers, what do you think? I'd be especially interested in hearing the views of the happy and fulfilled lawyers among the VC readership. What's your secret?