Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Survey Shows Recent Graduates Are Screwed Regardless of Rank, GPA, or Joint Degree

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%
Other 9%
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 bullshit job-search tips to law school graduates.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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.


  1. Tip #3: "...don't overlook mediation or alternative dispute resolution..."

    Ha. The only people doing mediation or ADR are attorneys and judges that have been doing litigation for 30 years and have tons of contacts. They've collected their blood-money already, and now they are interested in helping people resolve their differences amicably as a semi-retirement gig. How noble.

    I took a lot of ADR classes in law school, because of some genuine interest as well as "that's the direction the law is going!!11!!1!" When I looked at ADR-type professions as a law student/recent grad, no one would give me time of day. Funny, that was true with most every aspect of the legal profession, too...ya gotta go where the money is, and that's FIGHTIN', folks! You can't pull down the big bucks by actually reducing your billable hours through cooperation and finding the zone of agreement, now! Come on, y'all.

  2. I'm glad I didn't study like a gunner in law school. I would have wasted my time. I had some semblance of a social life!

  3. I think that's cynical of the author to only offer those 5 as his best tips! Clearly, he's holding out on us and I've followed through with his valuable advice here:

    #6 Marry rich. It's been one of the most reliable ways to gain financial security since humankind first walked upright. No matter how much you hate them or how unattractive they are, marry rich and your worries are over.

    #7 Sexual favors/prostitution. Let's face it, compared to many of the jobs that you're already willing to do this is actually a step up. Network heavily in new markets that need genitals lapped by tongues and holes to fill. Man or woman, it's time to use your god given assets.

    #8. Selling organs/bodily tissues. You know you've already thought of it. I know a guy who's name is Omar...for a finder's fee I'd be willing to put you in contact with him. All I need from you is a willingness to loose a few pounds in black market organs! Before you know it, you'll find yourself on the way to success or a significantly shortened life span so you won't have to worry that much longer.

    #9. Scavenging/Bone & Rag Men. As many of you may have read in fancy overpriced magazines like GQ, there's actually a popular, amongst wealthy trust fund hipster types, startup clothing line named Rag and Bone. As many of you humanities doctorate holders may know, it was named for the profession from Victorian England during the 19th century. What did Rag and Bonemen do? Well they literally scrounged around trash heaps for scraps that they could salvage for pennies, but go through enough shit you're bound to find something useful. As some scholars have pointed out, they also provided a valuable service to their communities by acting as a kind of human recycling project before we had the little blue bins. Consider this, there are states that pay up to 5 or even 10! cents for an empty bottle or can (at least until the state funding runs out in the next 18 to 24 months). Also do what many inner city residents do, and "scavenge" valuable metals from light poles or copper from power lines.

    #10 Flee the country. That's right, just fucking up and go. What's that you say? You like America? Do you know the kind of life you could have lived for the amount of money you blew on your "education"? Trust me, you don't want to know because it'll make you sick. However, having been one of those people who wanted to "help people" with his education and life you'll find that the second or third world really offers a lot in terms of happiness and opportunity. Hell, I hear they are even hiring lawyers in places like rural India.

  4. Hah. Good tips, Demosthenes. Your advice really is the only way one can successfully "network" their way into the upper class. Sexual favors and marriage is one of the few ways the poor can become rich. Fleeing the country is another good option for people who have given up on finding a job in the U.S. or are deep in student debt.

  5. Here's some more:

    1. Have a talent that will bring fans: It could be sexual but it doesn't have to be. Could be acting, singing, modeling, anything where you'll be onstage & instantly recognized by people; you can also find sugar daddies/mommies in that field. Most creative types are poor, yet they find dates. That's how hair metal guys survived; women were impressed with their talent onstage. Also see "Breakfast at Tiffany's" for an example.

    2. Hustling: if you have the potential to be a con artist, you can charm the pants off people. Then you make sure to move in the right circle, show up in certain places at the right time & you're all set. Part of this is being able to make people care about you right away; if you have a vulnerability or innocent quality about yourself, people will feel motivation to help you do stuff. They'd want you to succeed if they feel bad enough for you or you remind them of a friend/relative/child/loved one.

    3. Webcam work: no contact w/anyone & such a 21st century solution.



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