Well, like a pp, I was a music major, and, while I loved it, I realized while in college that if I practiced, tried to support myself, and tried to find a job, that would pretty much take up all my time, and having a family may or may not ever happen.
So I went to law school, because I figured there were a lot of things I could do with the degree, and it would always put food on the table.
I started out in criminal defense, burned out on that, and tried civil litigation for awhile. Big mistake, at least for me. I am just not detail oriented enough for civil work. From there, I worked for a telecommunications consulting firm for four years, from 1998-2002, when the bottom really dropped out of the telecom industry. Oh, yeah, and my boss came at me in a rage and one of my co-workers thought he was going to smack me. I loved telecom, but work in the industry around here is pretty scarce.
So, I went back to the one thing I knew I could do, which was criminal defense. To my surprise, I had grown alot in the intervening years, and now loved it. I even enjoyed court work, which I had hated before. I tried my hand at starting my own firm, while supplementing income doing court coverage for others, but gave that up while ttc dd1 because it was just too stressful waking up in the middle of the night wondering if I had committed malpractice that day.
Once dd was born, I quickly realized going back to work outside the house, even part -time, which had been the plan, was no longer an option for me. So I called my employer and asked her if I could just write some briefs from home for her for awhile. Her response was a wonderful, "of course, you have waited too long for that baby, you can't leave her yet." Wow. So, I started writing for her, and she discovered it was great having me always at her beck and call as a constant resource for writing or for looking up misc. statutes and case law while she was in court. And she started putting my name out there, and I started writing for other attorneys too, and now I have my own business doing writing and research work for other attorneys. I get to stay at home with my kiddo and work in my jammies. And still make payments on my student loans.
Luckily, I really love research and writing, and I have been able to price my services such that a lot of smaller firms (mostly solo practitioners) find it more economical to hire me than to do the work themselves. I make a comfortable living working part time. Yeah, I could make more money if I really pushed it, but the whole idea of being home for me was to balance work and family. So I work mostly when the nanny comes in the afternoons, and can spend time with dd in the mornings.
I think that answers most of the op's quesitons.
Vivian, as for the job fairs, I would definitely go, if your pg will allow. And ita with the pp's advice about being prepared to explain how you will combine a career and motherhood. And you might want to throw something in there about child spacing, too, so that they will know whether mat. leave will figure into your first year or two with their firm. (I think you picked a great concentration for combining work and family, btw. I have done a little defense work on a nearby reservaton for private clients and I was struck by how family-friendly the courts seemed to be.)