Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Seems to be the usual: unemployed 6 mo. post bar passage

Longtime reader, first time poster. Here with the usual. I p banana02/13/17
Easier said than done, but keep plugging away. At the time, jd4hire02/13/17
My advice is to keep volunteering at city agency while apply ipesq02/13/17
Credited re: continuing to volunteer. If you can swing it f sjlawyer02/14/17
Good luck OP. Unfortunately, your situation isn't abnorm isthisit02/13/17
My best advice is to look outside your immediate metro area. trollfeeder02/13/17
I'll second this. There are places in the dakotas, wyomin dingbat02/13/17
Also, many middling students in desirable city centers are f tedandlisa12302/14/17
Sorry to hear about your situation. You are fortunate to massivemissive02/13/17
The fact that you have no debt is a major benefit. You are jdcumlaude02/13/17
Hey Banana, Welcome to the "profession." Alas, your expe bittersweet02/14/17
Sounds like me. I guess given that I did go to law school, I banana02/14/17
Thanks, all. I agree with keeping on trying and that was ess banana02/14/17
The reality is that, once you miss the biglaw boat, the econ anothernjlawyer02/14/17
Agreed. Unfortunately, no, I didn't major in anything useful banana02/14/17
If you're interested in being a lawyer, there are ways. You guyingorillasuit02/14/17
^Agree. The truth is you are in an envious position. Very cocolawyer02/14/17
Credited mtbislife02/14/17
Credited. mtobeinf02/14/17
Just wanted to say good luck, OP, and hang in there. tcpaul02/14/17
Just wanted to say thanks for all of the encouraging words o banana02/20/17

banana (Feb 13, 2017 - 5:19 pm)

Longtime reader, first time poster. Here with the usual. I passed the bar five/six months ago and have yet to find a job. For the past 6 months (even before bar passage), I volunteered (that is, no pay) at a city agency and actually interviewed for an attorney position. From what I was told, I had a great chance of getting hired. The holiday season went by and I was told when I returned after the new year that there was a hiring freeze. Stuck it out another few weeks and decided recently it likely wasn't going anywhere. I took some time off to focus on my next move. Since passing the bar, I've applied everywhere and have essentially gotten no bites—not a single interview. Thoughts on giving up law/keep trying? Taking a paralegal or law clerk job? I've considered hanging a shingle but not a clue where to start.

Stats:
No law school debt (thankfully)
3.2 GPA
Top 100 LS (not the best, but explains the no debt)
Moot Court
Law Review Editorial Board

Reply
jd4hire (Feb 13, 2017 - 5:48 pm)

Easier said than done, but keep plugging away. At the time, I was terrified after passing the bar as I had no job and no continued means to support myself. Call attorneys you respect/ admire and knock on every door possible. Search all avenues of potential jobs from Craigslist to local legal publications. Call on any favors you may have outstanding and work any connections you might have (family, rich uncle, etc).

I'd suggest getting a side job just to occupy yourself and have some income (waiting/ bar-tending). Things are better now than in 2011, but they still suck.

Not to put pressure on, but your first job out can have a significant career trajectory. Doesn't make or break, but if you stay for a while, those attorneys will mold how you practice and may place you on a path (if your first gig is employment law plaintiffs work and you end up staying there for 4 years, it is logical you may continue doing plaintiff's employment work). Good luck. You've got some good credentials, so keep plugging away.

Reply
ipesq (Feb 13, 2017 - 6:36 pm)

My advice is to keep volunteering at city agency while applying for jobs. This will keep your resume fresh. I graduated in 2011 from top 100 law school with similar stats and extracurriculars as you, and it took me 15 months to obtain paid employment. I applied to at least 300 jobs (I kept a spreadsheet) and only received 6 interviews before I obtained my first paid job. Even then, I was offered $15/hr which went to $25/hr after a couple of month. This is what a new lawyer is worth. It should not take you as long to find employment since I hear the market isn't as saturated anymore. Good luck.

Reply
sjlawyer (Feb 14, 2017 - 8:13 am)

Credited re: continuing to volunteer. If you can swing it financially, keeping some type of position on your resume maintains the illusion of not having a hole. Not the most ideal situation, but worth it in the long run.

Reply
isthisit (Feb 13, 2017 - 7:58 pm)

Good luck OP.

Unfortunately, your situation isn't abnormal for our noble profession.

It took me 6 months post swearing-in to find an actual lawyer job.

Reply
trollfeeder (Feb 13, 2017 - 9:06 pm)

My best advice is to look outside your immediate metro area. City centers, particularly desirable ones, are filled with middling law graduates who are willing to take any job that comes their way. Over time, there are certainly chairs left when the music stops, but sometimes that isn't the case. You might find a desirable job in a less than desirable area.

Reply
dingbat (Feb 13, 2017 - 9:32 pm)

I'll second this.

There are places in the dakotas, wyoming, montana, etc. where they're actively looking for attorneys.

Reply
tedandlisa123 (Feb 14, 2017 - 7:06 am)

Also, many middling students in desirable city centers are from wealthier backgrounds and continue to be supported by Mom and Dad. If you are working class from moderate means, good luck volunteering or working for a pittance for many years to get a foot in the door.

Reply
massivemissive (Feb 13, 2017 - 9:13 pm)

Sorry to hear about your situation.

You are fortunate to not have any debt.

Give yourself a timeline: find a job in the next year; otherwise move on. Spend some time thinking about other career options. If you have any science background, consider healthcare. There are jobs there and many don't require more than a master's degree.

Reply
jdcumlaude (Feb 13, 2017 - 9:43 pm)

The fact that you have no debt is a major benefit. You are more free. As long as your constraints are limited and your expenses are low, you should focus on gaining experience through volunteering or any court appointed lists. Summer is coming and attorneys will want to go on vacation (spring break too) volunteer to handle their work while they are away. It is minimal legal work, but it goes a long way towards establishing a good reputation.

Reply
bittersweet (Feb 14, 2017 - 10:52 am)

Hey Banana,

Welcome to the "profession." Alas, your experience seems to be the norm. It took me until August the year AFTER graduating before I got an offer that wasn't a temp gig. Unfortunately I had a family crisis and had to change the state I was living in and things got delayed for yet another year.

Be glad there is no LS debt. It sucks to have to put living expenses on a credit card. Compounding that with LS debt is a quick way to misery and can take a while to crawl out of. Don't do that. If finances are tight, get some sort of job that pays SOMETHING and volunteer part time until you find paying work.

I wound up with a PT telemarketing job for 8 months. I didn't cover my expenses at 20 hours a week, but it allowed me enough wiggle room to eat.

Reply
banana (Feb 14, 2017 - 12:18 pm)

Sounds like me. I guess given that I did go to law school, I like being busy better than sitting around wasting time. Finding a paying job and volunteering part time is a good approach.

Reply
banana (Feb 14, 2017 - 10:52 am)

Thanks, all. I agree with keeping on trying and that was essentially my plan, but Googling the legal job market can turn any optimist into a pessimist. Not to relish is anyone else's former misfortune, but it is helpful know that there are others who have faced this kind of bad luck when trying to break into the job market.

Reply
anothernjlawyer (Feb 14, 2017 - 11:25 am)

The reality is that, once you miss the biglaw boat, the economic prospects afforded by a JD are no better, and probably worse, than those afforded by an underlying BA.

Do you have a marketable undergraduate degree (finance, accounting, engineering, etc..) or did you major in basket weaving or English or gender studies (actually, today, I bet a gender studies major can make more as a "diversity coordinator" than your average engineering major, but I digress.....)?

One of the biggest mistakes that undergraduates make (I did) is thinking that law school plans obviate the need to get a "jobs-capable" BA. You should choose your UG major assuming that you won't be going to law school. The law schools don't help: they'll tell you the "best law students" are English or Philosophy majors, effectively encouraging prospective students to place all of their eggs in the law school basket.

Anyhoo, if you haven't already, I'd suggest starting to look at non-law jobs that coincide with your area of undergraduate study. The reality is that a BA, entry level position with any big company is going to pay you more than you're going to make in smallaw for many years, and maybe your whole career, and typically with better benefits.

Reply
banana (Feb 14, 2017 - 12:16 pm)

Agreed. Unfortunately, no, I didn't major in anything useful like engineering, etc. I have a seemingly useless liberal arts degree, and I, of course, chose it based on law school. Not even really because I thought it would "make me a better law student," but merely because it just seemed to fit. I've started looking for jobs in my undergrad area but they seem pretty sparse. Plan is to keep looking, though, for any professional job of relation to something I have a degree in, whether Bachelor's or JD. I agree about missing the big law boat. If I only knew then what I know now.

Reply
guyingorillasuit (Feb 14, 2017 - 11:46 am)

If you're interested in being a lawyer, there are ways. You can start out by meeting lots of people, especially solos and small firms. Eventually, people will give you projects to work on, or hire you part time. Your pay will be low, but you will gain experience, and see how the business operates. In a year or two, you can either go out on your own, or try to leverage this experience into a job with a different firm.

Remember that the real power of this profession is that you don't need an employer. You can hang out a shingle and look for clients.

Reply
cocolawyer (Feb 14, 2017 - 12:02 pm)

^Agree.

The truth is you are in an envious position. Very few can lay claim to not having a six figure student loan debt. This gives you flexibility. If you don't have a wife or kids...even more flexibility.

If I was in that situation I would of seriously considered going solo with a network of individuals I knew that could help me out. The first two years will be slow, but you can rent a room and live meagerly.

The best part of your situation is that if you simply hate the law, then you can leave. Your not uber screwed like the rest of us with unimaginable student loan debt levels

Reply
mtbislife (Feb 14, 2017 - 12:08 pm)

Credited

Reply
mtobeinf (Feb 14, 2017 - 3:38 pm)

Credited.

Reply
tcpaul (Feb 14, 2017 - 2:30 pm)

Just wanted to say good luck, OP, and hang in there.

Reply
banana (Feb 20, 2017 - 5:53 pm)

Just wanted to say thanks for all of the encouraging words out there on this post. I got a call for an interview today, so, at the very least, I haven't lost all faith in the job hunt.

Reply
Post a message in this thread