Sunday, October 25, 2009

Go to Law School to become a Paralegal or a Secretary! (My comments in Green)

Out-of-work lawyers try to be paralegals, secretaries
by Michael H. Samuels
Published: August 6th, 2009
Jessica Sparacino was a student at Touro Law School when she got a job as a paralegal for Jackson Lewis in Melville, a position she held a year after graduation before landing a job as a lawyer.

With the legal job market being hit hard by the recession, Sparacino is one of the lucky ones.

Yah, She's really lucky. Probably 200K in debt and working a job she worked before accumulating the debt.

With the recession spurring legal layoffs across the country - 5,190 lawyers at major law firms have been laid off since Jan. 1, 2008, according to, a Web site that tracks legal layoffs - out-of-work attorneys are willing to work in the legal industry as paralegals, law librarians and legal secretaries.

However, they’re not getting hired.

“It is totally inappropriate to have an attorney in a library,” because most attorneys do not have the necessary library science skills and degree to work in a law library, said Marjorie Jassin, vice president of Law Library Management, in Huntington, which helps firms manage their own law libraries. “But they are applying for anything law-related. They are looking for work. They have student loans to pay.”

Even though we take a whole year of intensive Legal Research and Writing and spend 3 years on the Law Library, we don't qualify to be Law Librarians.  Fail again!

David Gabor of Gabor & Gabor in Garden City said his firm was inundated with resumes from attorneys for an administrative assistant position. The firm didn’t hire one of the attorneys because of concerns that they would feel that the job was beneath them and would leave as soon as a better job opened up.

Now Employers can decide that they shouldn't hire you because you may leave for a better opportunity one day.  Because everyone you hire stays with your company for life, right?

“We ended up going with a person who has a college education and who seems very amenable to being trained and working hard,” Gabor said.

Because a college graduate is only worth 30K and will stay in a job earning 30K forever.

He suggests instead that out of work lawyers focus on networking, write articles in their practice areas and volunteer their time and expertise by working with charities.

What does he expect lawyers to do for money????

“I deal with people in transition all the time,” said Gabor, an employment lawyer. “If you’re looking for a job, the worst thing you can do is sit around waiting by the phone.”

He also suggested that attorneys should, if they have the means, start up their own one-person practice.

That's the answer!  Because every town has a shortage of solos and clients are so easy to find.

That’s what Denise Doty did.

Doty, an attorney in Farmingdale, was laid off in October, and spent six months networking and volunteering with the Nassau County Bar Association before opening a private practice out of her home in May.

She said she made the decision after applying for legal and nonlegal positions at banks and mortgage companies, and finding she was overqualified.

“I sent out 50 or 60 resumes,” Doty said. “The majority of them I did not get any responses to. It’s a blind ad. I got a response maybe 10 percent of the time acknowledging that my resume was received.”

She added that she never even thought about applying for a secretary-type position.

“I’ve been practicing for 15 years,” she said. “Years ago when I got out of law school and couldn’t find a job, I did take a position as a secretary, but nobody is going to hire somebody as a secretary with 15 years of experience [as an attorney].”

Instead, she’s on her own and growing her client base with the help of word of mouth from friends, social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn and attending networking events to meet potential clients and gather business cards. She’s in the process of putting together written announcements of her one-person firm to send out to groups who do not have computer access.

“Some of what I’m aiming to do is wills, estates, elder law aimed at an older population,” Doty said. “Most don’t have computer or Internet access.”

What are you going to do when you're client base dies off?  And the people remaining figure out about

Marc Wegner, a partner at Jackson Lewis, said attorneys - whether they’re recent law school graduates or experience-rich associates - should do whatever they can to work at a law firm.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “It’s better than looking for other jobs just to make ends meet. If you can manage to stay involved in the industry, it shows a commitment. If you continue to stay involved, that will make you more sellable eventually when the market for attorneys picks up.”

Sparacino, who started this week as a lobbying and criminal defense attorney for GerstmanSchwartz in Garden City, already has friends asking if Jackson Lewis is hiring to fill the paralegal job she’s leaving.

“A year out of law school, with no foot in the door at a law firm, it is heart wrenching and difficult,” Sparacino said. “In today’s economy, you’re competing against attorneys who were just laid off with five-plus years of experience and willing to take entry-level pay.”

We're so fucked, people.  


  1. don't be so negative, life is what you make it!

  2. Wow Anonymous, you obviously are a fucking idiot who has never experienced the legal job market.



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