Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

trying to help a newbie

Graduate: I am taking the bar in July and feel very good abo nighthawk06/13/17
School ? Our last two hires had been in DR for 6 months. Bot vohod06/13/17
I wish more employers would see a doc review stint as "I'm s blackholelaw06/13/17
I think they do in small law, but in most cases I would advi sjlawyer06/13/17
Small law clowns don't pay and try to 1099 people. triplesix06/16/17
The career office just wants to mark him down as in JD-requi anonattempt06/13/17
Hmm that's a tough choice for a new grad. Doc review fill isthisit06/13/17
My four months of doc review is on my resume. I listed it as barelylegal06/13/17
I would tell him that while doc review will kill his resume onehell06/16/17
Or just go to fishing school, which is cheaper than an MBA. nighthawk06/16/17
Fishing school? I first read that as finishing school. isthisit06/16/17
An MBA is useless to someone with no work experience. Many g flharfh06/16/17
Sure, you're not getting an ibanking job without a prestigio onehell06/16/17
Onehell, don't kid yourself about what most compliance peopl inho2solo06/17/17
Tell your friend to do whatever he/she can to NOT do documen hairypalms06/16/17
I disagree with the advice OP. I know plenty of people t superttthero06/16/17
I'm also confused by the advice to do anything other than do thirdtierlaw06/17/17
You can do DR (or a non-law job for that matter), just would hairypalms06/17/17
nighthawk (Jun 13, 2017 - 8:53 am)

Graduate: I am taking the bar in July and feel very good about it. However, I do not have a job and feeling tense from it. The career services office at my law school recommended gearing up for doc review.

Nighthawk: better stay away from doc review, it does nothing for your resume and you will be with depressed people all day telling you to stay in doc review forever

Graduate: but doc review is a legal job, I must pass the bar to get that gig

Nighthawk: regardless, do not go there; there are other things that you can do to make money, build your resume, and eventually get into the law world

Graduate: but the career services office mentioned it as legal choice

Nighthawk: do what you want, you've been warned

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vohod (Jun 13, 2017 - 9:04 am)

School ? Our last two hires had been in DR for 6 months. Both I and the more senior attorneys had done it at some point. If he doesn't already have a job then its not an immediate death sentence to take DR, but staying unemployed tailoring a resume with zero experience is a death sentence.

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blackholelaw (Jun 13, 2017 - 9:36 am)

I wish more employers would see a doc review stint as "I'm scrappy and I will do whatever it takes to get by until something better comes along" rather than "I failed and this is what I ended up with."

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sjlawyer (Jun 13, 2017 - 9:41 am)

I think they do in small law, but in most cases I would advise someone to take on some contract work with a small law lawyer over doc review. However, YMMV in major metros in particular.

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triplesix (Jun 16, 2017 - 2:45 pm)

Small law clowns don't pay and try to 1099 people.

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anonattempt (Jun 13, 2017 - 9:56 am)

The career office just wants to mark him down as in JD-required job 9-months after graduation. They probably prefer JD-required-temporary more than JD-not-required-permanent.

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isthisit (Jun 13, 2017 - 10:38 am)

Hmm that's a tough choice for a new grad.

Doc review fills a resume gap and provides money. It's definitely not a career but it is probably better than a gap in your resume or filling it in with "shelf clerk" or whatever if you can't find a legal gig.

It seems that the grad isn't being flooded with opportunities so it's probably better than nothing. He could try hanging up a shingle and doing doc review simultaneously. You don't need a physical office in some jurisdictions so he could do it from home and in between projects. Plus it fluffs his resume with something substantive.

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barelylegal (Jun 13, 2017 - 10:54 pm)

My four months of doc review is on my resume. I listed it as Contract Attorney.

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onehell (Jun 16, 2017 - 2:32 pm)

I would tell him that while doc review will kill his resume with anyone who knows what doc review is, it is something that he could spin for law-related jobs like compliance and stuff that don't know any better. Just say it was contract counsel or due diligence work or something, compare it to how docs do locum tenens and stuff. He could start in doc review and then apply for "law related" type jobs, particularly if he is geographically flexible and can apply in flyover states or something where people simply won't know what doc review is.

That said, is this grad a typical K-JD who is like 25 years old with no dependents? If so, I would strongly encourage him to go back to school for something else while he is still young enough and free enough to do it. Go back to UG and do health prereqs, or an MBA with a "hard" concentration like finance. Or maybe even a coding bootcamp or something. The longer he spends trying to have a legal career the harder it is going to get to push the reset button.

Also, since it sounds like he trusts career services' advice, remind him that CSO has a conflict of interest because they just want him to be listed as employed 9 months after graduation. Once that snapshot of his employment status 9 months out is taken, his plight ceases to have an impact on the school's USNWR rankings. Once you've been out of school for nine months and one day they have no reason to care one whit about what happens to you, so of course they will push him into doc review. But were he to broach the idea of going back to school with them, I bet they'd embrace it enthusiastically. They'll be happy to recommend anything that will show him as anything other than unemployed at that all-important 9 month mark.

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nighthawk (Jun 16, 2017 - 3:00 pm)

Or just go to fishing school, which is cheaper than an MBA.

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isthisit (Jun 16, 2017 - 3:10 pm)

Fishing school? I first read that as finishing school.

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flharfh (Jun 16, 2017 - 3:10 pm)

An MBA is useless to someone with no work experience. Many good MBA programs don't even accept people without significant work/business experience and having a JD+MBA makes you wildly overqualified for entry level business jobs.

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onehell (Jun 16, 2017 - 3:45 pm)

Sure, you're not getting an ibanking job without a prestigious MBA and its prerequisite prestigious work experience, but if the school you go to is at least somewhat reputable and you focus on one of the "boring" concentrations like finance or supply chain, I've seen people have good outcomes, or at least better outcomes than a low-ranked JD.

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inho2solo (Jun 17, 2017 - 9:32 am)

Onehell, don't kid yourself about what most compliance people know about doc review. In many companies that function is headed by an experienced lawyer and reports to the GC. In mine, everyone at director level is a lawyer and about 1/4 of the compliance managers are as well.

That said, a recent compliance manager hire was a guy who flamed out and did some doc review after getting his JD in his late 30. He had prior corp experience though, mostly procurement with a short stint in compliance just before going to LS.

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hairypalms (Jun 16, 2017 - 9:24 pm)

Tell your friend to do whatever he/she can to NOT do document review. It is a career killer. You're better off working as a waiter and trying to find a law job during the day then putting DR on your resume. Did I do it? Yes, for 5-6 years, but I had worked as an associate out of law school. To fully get out of DR, I had to take a non-attorney role in the area of contracting at a large company and progressively moved up the ranks. I am now in-house counsel, but I caution that I was lucky and many companies will not promote people to attorney roles. In effect, I had to take a step back in order to move forward with my career and even then it entailed a lot of luck, a boss willing to promote me and hard work. Once you're locked into doing DR and working crazy hours, it's hard to apply for other (real) legal job opportunities. You just don't have enough time or energy after looking at legal documents for 12 hours per day. I agree that all career services cares about it being able to add you to the employed list to make their numbers look better. Good luck.

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superttthero (Jun 16, 2017 - 10:41 pm)

I disagree with the advice OP.

I know plenty of people that were in doc review that were able to get entry level crummy law jobs, start their own firm, some people were able to restart a higher end-career after a short stint. And, believe it or not, while some people are deluding themselves that they are happy with it, many genuinely grow to prefer the lifestyle, particularly if the their spouse has benefits providing employment.

I think getting stuck in doc review is just a symptom of whatever is causing your unemployment--whether the market or your own short-comings--rather than the nature of it itself. Now, I'm not claiming doc review helps a resume, but it helps a lot more than having 11 months at Sur La Table on it, and certainly if you think an employment gap is better, you can always leave it off. Although I suspect as others have said its better than an employment gap to smaller law firms, gov't, and even non-law.

At the end of the day, you gotta make money. For someone that hasn't decided to jump ship to another industry, in certain markets its way make to make enough money to live off and still have a good amount of flexibility to job hunt, network, volunteer, make connections.

I think you should at least let him know that this is your opinion and people are somewhat divided. Your advice is not the consensus view.

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thirdtierlaw (Jun 17, 2017 - 7:45 am)

I'm also confused by the advice to do anything other than doc review because it is a career killer.

I've never done doc review so I'm just going by what I've read on here. Why can't someone still pick up contract work from solos and small practices while doing document review? It may make for longer days, but are they really any longer than working retail all day then going home to write a brief? Are you unable to hang a shingle and do document review during the day?

I don't see how unemployment or a completely non-law related position puts you in a better spot than document review when looking for a legal job.

Not to mention that at least document review has you surrounded by attorneys for networking purposes. There are many people on here who have transitioned from doc review to a fulltime legal job, some went in-house some to firms. What I don't hear on hear are people who were able to move from waiting tables to an in-house job.

It doesn't sound like document review is a path to full-time legal employment, but if the question isn't "do I do doc review or completely change career paths" I'm not sure I'd advise against document review.

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hairypalms (Jun 17, 2017 - 7:56 am)

You can do DR (or a non-law job for that matter), just wouldn't advise putting it on your resume, period, unless you want the scarlet letter of a document reviewer to forever stain your resume. My point was don't get too comfortable doing document review. 6-months tops and hopefully you have moved on to something more substantive.

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