Do not go to law school. I cannot stress this enough to college graduates who think three years in law school will somehow make the recession end and older and experienced laid off lawyers disappear. A new survey from legal staffing firm Robert Half Legal shows what Angel and I have already told you. The job market is over-saturated with lawyers and there is no way young graduates without connections will get a job when there are thousands of laid off attorneys with experience competing for the same jobs and willing to work for less money and fewer hours. Most of you reading this already knew that.
In the survey, more than four in 10 (44 percent) of lawyers cited training or real-world experience as the most marketable attribute for law school graduates. Funny since most of us never got any real-world training or experience in law school. So unless you worked as a paralegal or law clerk before attending law school, you won't have the "experience" to compete. No, your internship with Bob Loblaw Shitlaw P.C. and moot court does not count as real experience.
Lawyers were asked, "In your opinion, which one of the following criteria makes recent law school graduates most marketable?" Their responses:
Training or experience in a high-demand practice area 44%
Law school or class ranking 19%
Technological proficiency 9%
Project management skills 8%
Joint J.D. and MBA degree 5%
Bilingual ability 2%
Don't Know 4%
The T14 means little to nothing in this new economy. Law school and class ranking counts for only 19 percent. Joint degrees count 5 percent. Fancy degrees and working your butt off to graduate cum laude will no longer guarantee a Biglaw or government job. Do not believe a joint JD and MBA degree will get you a job. I have several friends with a joint JD and MBA degree from top 10 schools who are unemployed. One of my friends admitted that he has been unemployed for too long to ever enter the private sector again. He graduated at the top of his class from a T14 and has a joint JD and MBA degree. He also has several years of experience in Biglaw. Do not go to law school.
Robert Half Legal offered the following
I think these tips, like most of the tips I've received since the economy collapsed, will do nothing to help most of us. We all know that. All of us who have put in 110 percent into networking, interning for next to nothing, and interviewing already know that pro bono work, doc review, internships, and networking with people who could care less about you and already decided to give the job to their relative, friend, or lover does not lead to a job. Do not go to law school.
- Make the most of your time. Hiring managers look favorably on candidates who have used their post-graduation period wisely. Use this opportunity to secure informational meetings with potential employers. Also sign up for additional training, including certified legal education, and business development and technology classes.
- Consider pro bono or project work. These short-term assignments can help you make valuable contacts and develop skills future clients will seek, and may even lead to a full-time role.
- Rethink the firm route. Consider clerkships that offer one to two years of formal training and can serve as an entree into a long-term position. Also, don't overlook mediation or alternative dispute resolution, and public interest roles.
- Network heavily. Use social media sites to expand your contact list but also make an effort to meet people face to face by attending alumni networking events or bar association meetings.
- Look beyond your legal circle. Friends, neighbors, former colleagues and college classmates outside your field could have connections or information that can lead you to your next position.