Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:51 pm

TheUnicornHunter wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
TheUnicornHunter wrote:On the other hand, the number also includes non-partner track associates.

And how many of those are there?


This is a good question, but I'm willing to bet it's a significant enough number to balance out the fed clerks or lit boutique associates who don't show up in the "Big Law" numbers.

Maybe the lit boutique associates but I guarantee you it's nowhere near the more than 1,000 fed clerks. Most biglaw hiring is done by the big vault firms that don't bring on any meaningful number of non-partner track people right out of school.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:53 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
twenty wrote:I know I've said this before and gotten "lol 1L" as a response, but I'm still not entirely sure why "stop chasing law and find something else to do" isn't TCR for a lot of unemployed JDs. Getting a non-legal job that qualifies for PSLF is not nearly as hard as getting a JD-required PSLF-eligible job.

I think you overestimate how easy it is to get a non-legal PSLF job when you're a K-JD who hasn't done anything but go to school. One of the reasons people chase law and legal-related/JD-preferred jobs is because those are the only ones where having a JD is relevant. If having a JD is the only thing you have going for you, that's where you're going to look.

I mean, you're right, people should find other things to do, and many people do, but it's not always as simple as it sounds.

This may be one of those cases where two things can be equally true.[/quote]
That's true.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby twenty » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:58 pm

It's not that I don't have the utmost sympathy for anyone who's 2-3 years out from their JD and still looking for legal work, but the idea that it's just too hard to find PSLF-eligible work is untrue. Obviously, if the only PSLF-eligible work you'll consider taking is a GS-9 with automatic upward mobility to a 13 at a large federal agency, then yeah, it's going to be really hard to find said work. On the other extreme, Army will enlist basically any college graduate with a pulse. Between those two extremes, there are plenty of PSLF-qualifying jobs that K-JDs just will not go for. I find it hard to imagine that a K-JD wouldn't be competitive for large police departments or low-level state government positions. It really sucks to be starting a career alongside 23-24 year olds when you're 30, but the folks that are 2-3 years unemployed after a JD openly admit that they've wasted half a decade of their lives as it is.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:07 pm

twenty wrote:It's not that I don't have the utmost sympathy for anyone who's 2-3 years out from their JD and still looking for legal work, but the idea that it's just too hard to find PSLF-eligible work is untrue. Obviously, if the only PSLF-eligible work you'll consider taking is a GS-9 with automatic upward mobility to a 13 at a large federal agency, then yeah, it's going to be really hard to find said work. On the other extreme, Army will enlist basically any college graduate with a pulse. Between those two extremes, there are plenty of PSLF-qualifying jobs that K-JDs just will not go for. I find it hard to imagine that a K-JD wouldn't be competitive for large police departments or low-level state government positions. It really sucks to be starting a career alongside 23-24 year olds when you're 30, but the folks that are 2-3 years unemployed after a JD openly admit that they've wasted half a decade of their lives as it is.

This feels sort of straw-person-y to me, though, in that I don't know people 2-3 years out from their JD doing nothing but forlornly searching for law jobs and turning up their nose at low-level state government positions.

As for the solutions you propose: Police and military are very specific jobs that aren't going to appeal to a lot of people (and a lot of people probably won't qualify on the fitness requirements). As for starting a career at 30 alongside 23-24 year olds - have you tried to do this? It's actually very hard to get an entry level job when you look "overqualified" (i.e. you have some kind of advanced degree that's unnecessary for the job). I'm not saying people shouldn't try or that no JD is going to get these jobs, because of course people do. But honestly, which government jobs are you talking about? Can you give me examples? Can you explain why a hiring entity would want to hire a JD for them when they have lots of eager fresh-faced college grads who don't raise any of the red flags that a JD does?

I'm sure there are people artificially limiting themselves who shouldn't, but I don't think that makes up as much of the problem as you assume.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:09 pm

twenty wrote:It's not that I don't have the utmost sympathy for anyone who's 2-3 years out from their JD and still looking for legal work, but the idea that it's just too hard to find PSLF-eligible work is untrue. Obviously, if the only PSLF-eligible work you'll consider taking is a GS-9 with automatic upward mobility to a 13 at a large federal agency, then yeah, it's going to be really hard to find said work. On the other extreme, Army will enlist basically any college graduate with a pulse. Between those two extremes, there are plenty of PSLF-qualifying jobs that K-JDs just will not go for. I find it hard to imagine that a K-JD wouldn't be competitive for large police departments or low-level state government positions. It really sucks to be starting a career alongside 23-24 year olds when you're 30, but the folks that are 2-3 years unemployed after a JD openly admit that they've wasted half a decade of their lives as it is.


Of course, some of us went to law school because we actually love doing what lawyers do, and also happen to be good at it.

The fastest way to end your legal career is to take a non-law job. If you can find a good one (and like many have said, it's not easy to get good non-law jobs because everyone thinks--and most of the time, rightly so--you will bail for a real law job the first chance you get) then that's good for you, but your chances of then going back to law are virtually zero.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:10 pm

I dunno, I was applying for basically everything under the sun, including cop jobs, and any number of other assorted things. The fact that I somehow actually ended up as a lawyer was probably some combination of (a) dumb luck and (b) the fact that lawyering was actually the thing I was qualified to do.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby twenty » Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:25 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:This feels sort of straw-person-y to me, though, in that I don't know people 2-3 years out from their JD doing nothing but forlornly searching for law jobs and turning up their nose at low-level state government positions.


Maybe a little bit, but bear in mind that I'm talking about a minority population to begin with. I'm not going for "3L and no job? Police department!" or anything like that, I'm talking about the people that are truly bouncing from temp gig to gig that have reached the rock bottom of openly admitting that going to law school was a huge mistake. Even a cursory read of TLS/JDU confirms that these people do exist, and not just because they have terrible personalities or went to terrible schools.

As for starting a career at 30 alongside 23-24 year olds - have you tried to do this? It's actually very hard to get an entry level job when you look "overqualified" (i.e. you have some kind of advanced degree that's unnecessary for the job).


Perhaps in a lot of sectors, but not state/federal/military. The hiring process is formulaic and "checklisty" enough to where being overqualified might actually work in your favor.

But honestly, which government jobs are you talking about? Can you give me examples? Can you explain why a hiring entity would want to hire a JD for them when they have lots of eager fresh-faced college grads who don't raise any of the red flags that a JD does?


Even if you exclude police and military, which is a really big exclusion, look back to whatever you did while you were in law school. Most jobs that include the words "government" "analyst" and "program" in them are basically looking for someone who's done pro bono work in whatever the specific agency/et al. is looking for. Someone who has spent a lot of time doing interviews is going to have a different skill set than someone who spent a lot of time doing legal research. I don't know why you'd assume that having what ultimately comes out to an expensive and long advanced degree is unquestioningly a bad thing for public sector hiring.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby twenty » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:51 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Are you certain that all state government hiring is run on the same lines as federal/military?


The more uniform the hiring body, the more likely you are to see that. The mindset is fundamentally different - there's no pressure to only hire people that are going to be in government for the long haul except in really particular (and ironically usually law-related) fields. At the most basic level, Candidate X got a qualifying score of 94, and Candidate Y got a qualifying score of 96. If a hiring official takes Candidate X over Candidate Y, they better have a really good reason, and "seen as a flight risk" is not going to cut it. Even "had a bad interview" probably won't cut it. One way to get "points" in this system, albeit not the only way, is to have an advanced degree.

Once they get the first job they're great, but it is very very very hard for them to get that first job because they just don't make sense to employers outside their degree field. People do eventually get jobs, yes, but it's nowhere near as simple as "just look for non-law jobs."


That's probably more of an indictment of the economy as a whole. Plus, I feel like you're artificially expanding things a bit when you extrapolate "just get a non-law job." Obviously there are a lot of industries where the JD does become a red flag - at the risk of going all ratfukr here, probably because the company sees a bright-eyed college grad as having fewer alternative exit options than a JD grad, even if that's actually untrue. I'm just saying that's not a universal problem.

Saying "I don't get why people don't look for non-law jobs" frankly sounds like you're blaming the unemployed for their unemployment.


That's a bit unfair, especially because that's not at all what I'm going for here. I said:

Between those two extremes, there are plenty of PSLF-qualifying jobs that K-JDs just will not go for.


...so, like, maybe there's a good reason why JDs don't go for these kinds of jobs. Like JCougar pointed, taking a non-legal job is a really great way to permanently end your legal career. That's not because the qualifying employment isn't hard to find, that's because, for any number of both legitimate and illegitimate reasons, JDs aren't going for these spots. "Don't want to get stuck being a mechanic in Montana for 43k/year" is a perfectly legitimate reason not to join the military, but it might still be a good plan for someone who just recently graduated from college with a bad major and a low GPA.

edit> Just so we're clear, though, Navy's Surface Warfare community had a 97% acceptance rate for officer candidates last September. This isn't "lol do mckinsey bro."

I don't quite get why you think people are somehow being short-sighted when they simply don't know how to do it.


A large part of the problem is TLS being willfully dense about the ease/difficulty in getting a non-legal PSLF-qualifying job. I keep seeing this pop up in tandem with "it's really hard to get a PI legal gig" (which is certainly more accurate) and it bothers me because I think a lot of unemployed JDs are discouraged from looking for non-legal jobs when people say things like that.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:28 pm

twenty wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Are you certain that all state government hiring is run on the same lines as federal/military?
The more uniform the hiring body, the more likely you are to see that. The mindset is fundamentally different - there's no pressure to only hire people that are going to be in government for the long haul except in really particular (and ironically usually law-related) fields. At the most basic level, Candidate X got a qualifying score of 94, and Candidate Y got a qualifying score of 96. If a hiring official takes Candidate X over Candidate Y, they better have a really good reason, and "seen as a flight risk" is not going to cut it. Even "had a bad interview" probably won't cut it. One way to get "points" in this system, albeit not the only way, is to have an advanced degree

I'm not sure this really answered my question, though.

Once they get the first job they're great, but it is very very very hard for them to get that first job because they just don't make sense to employers outside their degree field. People do eventually get jobs, yes, but it's nowhere near as simple as "just look for non-law jobs."
That's probably more of an indictment of the economy as a whole. Plus, I feel like you're artificially expanding things a bit when you extrapolate "just get a non-law job." Obviously there are a lot of industries where the JD does become a red flag - at the risk of going all ratfukr here, probably because the company sees a bright-eyed college grad as having fewer alternative exit options than a JD grad, even if that's actually untrue. I'm just saying that's not a universal problem.

Re: the economy, sure, but we live in the economy we live in. And I thought you opened this by saying "stop chasing law and find something else to do." How is that not "just get a non-law job"?
Between those two extremes, there are plenty of PSLF-qualifying jobs that K-JDs just will not go for.

edit> Just so we're clear, though, Navy's Surface Warfare community had a 97% acceptance rate for officer candidates last September. This isn't "lol do mckinsey bro."

How are you not getting that there are a lot of people not qualified to go into the military/who would rather do doc review than go into the military? I get that for some people it's a great gig, but it's a polarizing gig. It's not just a job you do 9-5 and go home. I don't think it's fair to say "someone who can't get a law job should just go into the military."

A large part of the problem is TLS being willfully dense about the ease/difficulty in getting a non-legal PSLF-qualifying job. I keep seeing this pop up in tandem with "it's really hard to get a PI legal gig" (which is certainly more accurate) and it bothers me because I think a lot of unemployed JDs are discouraged from looking for non-legal jobs when people say things like that.

I don't want to discourage anyone from looking for a non-legal job at all. I think lots of people can and should and there are lots of great ways people can sell themselves. But honestly I think you're being willfully dense about the ease of getting a non-legal PSLF-qualifying job as a JD. Can you give specific examples of these jobs that are so easy to get as a JD?

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby twenty » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:58 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
twenty wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Are you certain that all state government hiring is run on the same lines as federal/military?
The more uniform the hiring body, the more likely you are to see that. The mindset is fundamentally different - there's no pressure to only hire people that are going to be in government for the long haul except in really particular (and ironically usually law-related) fields. At the most basic level, Candidate X got a qualifying score of 94, and Candidate Y got a qualifying score of 96. If a hiring official takes Candidate X over Candidate Y, they better have a really good reason, and "seen as a flight risk" is not going to cut it. Even "had a bad interview" probably won't cut it. One way to get "points" in this system, albeit not the only way, is to have an advanced degree

I'm not sure this really answered my question, though.


Then I guess I don't understand your question.

Re: the economy, sure, but we live in the economy we live in. And I thought you opened this by saying "stop chasing law and find something else to do." How is that not "just get a non-law job"?


Your earlier statement was in relation to graduate students that were unable to find a job in the field of their degrees, and as you pointed out, they did exactly that. I'm pushing back on the presumption that it's harder to get a job (at least in government) than if you hadn't done the advanced degree at all. As I said before, I'm not entirely sure why "stop chasing law and find something else to do" isn't the credited response for a lot of people. I thought JCougar did a pretty good job summarizing the two fairly big reasons: they want to be lawyers, and they don't want to torpedo a possible law career in the future. That's totally fine. But I think there's also more than a few JDs that would consider time spent in law school a complete charge-off, and yet are still pursuing legal jobs because what else are they going to do when no one wants to hire overqualified JDs?

I'm not saying "someone who can't get a law job should go to the military" I'm saying "someone who can't get a law job COULD go to the military." That's a huge extreme, and I said as much early on. In between the two extremes of a ridiculously cushy PMF-style federal job that is immensely competitive and the military which, right now, is pretty much taking anyone with a pulse, there is a vast spectrum of government positions that, I suspect, JDs are not considering for "reasons." If "reasons" is "I don't want to foreclose on a legal career" then cool, go nuts. But if "reasons" is "I can't get a non-legal job because some recent grad will beat me to it because I'm overqualified," that's bullshit. When I mentioned the military, you went off on me for reasons that are really very much not relevant to what I'm saying here. I tossed out "military" as an example of a PSLF-eligible employer that will take pretty much anyone. Just postulating here, but maybe "local librarian" is a PSLF-eligible job that's slightly more competitive than the military, but slightly less competitive than a "program analyst" position with a large city.

Can you give specific examples of these jobs that are so easy to get as a JD?


You're being purposefully conflationary - you might be able to get this job as a K-JD:

http://www.water.ca.gov/hro/pdf/job/2010-5393-006.pdf

You also might be able to get this job as a K-JD depending on your undergrad coursework:

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/382088100

None of these jobs are "easy" to get, but they're not made more difficult by having a JD. In fact, the only way you'd be able to qualify for the second by education is with a JD.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:19 pm

twenty wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
twenty wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Are you certain that all state government hiring is run on the same lines as federal/military?
The more uniform the hiring body, the more likely you are to see that. The mindset is fundamentally different - there's no pressure to only hire people that are going to be in government for the long haul except in really particular (and ironically usually law-related) fields. At the most basic level, Candidate X got a qualifying score of 94, and Candidate Y got a qualifying score of 96. If a hiring official takes Candidate X over Candidate Y, they better have a really good reason, and "seen as a flight risk" is not going to cut it. Even "had a bad interview" probably won't cut it. One way to get "points" in this system, albeit not the only way, is to have an advanced degree

I'm not sure this really answered my question, though.


Then I guess I don't understand your question.

Re: the economy, sure, but we live in the economy we live in. And I thought you opened this by saying "stop chasing law and find something else to do." How is that not "just get a non-law job"?


Your earlier statement was in relation to graduate students that were unable to find a job in the field of their degrees, and as you pointed out, they did exactly that. I'm pushing back on the presumption that it's harder to get a job (at least in government) than if you hadn't done the advanced degree at all. As I said before, I'm not entirely sure why "stop chasing law and find something else to do" isn't the credited response for a lot of people. I thought JCougar did a pretty good job summarizing the two fairly big reasons: they want to be lawyers, and they don't want to torpedo a possible law career in the future. That's totally fine. But I think there's also more than a few JDs that would consider time spent in law school a complete charge-off, and yet are still pursuing legal jobs because what else are they going to do when no one wants to hire overqualified JDs?

I'm not saying "someone who can't get a law job should go to the military" I'm saying "someone who can't get a law job COULD go to the military." That's a huge extreme, and I said as much early on. In between the two extremes of a ridiculously cushy PMF-style federal job that is immensely competitive and the military which, right now, is pretty much taking anyone with a pulse, there is a vast spectrum of government positions that, I suspect, JDs are not considering for "reasons." If "reasons" is "I don't want to foreclose on a legal career" then cool, go nuts. But if "reasons" is "I can't get a non-legal job because some recent grad will beat me to it because I'm overqualified," that's bullshit. When I mentioned the military, you went off on me for reasons that are really very much not relevant to what I'm saying here. I tossed out "military" as an example of a PSLF-eligible employer that will take pretty much anyone. Just postulating here, but maybe "local librarian" is a PSLF-eligible job that's slightly more competitive than the military, but slightly less competitive than a "program analyst" position with a large city.

Can you give specific examples of these jobs that are so easy to get as a JD?


You're being purposefully conflationary - you might be able to get this job as a K-JD:

http://www.water.ca.gov/hro/pdf/job/2010-5393-006.pdf

You also might be able to get this job as a K-JD depending on your undergrad coursework:

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/382088100

None of these jobs are "easy" to get, but they're not made more difficult by having a JD. In fact, the only way you'd be able to qualify for the second by education is with a JD.


Or you could just become a fucking pizza delivery driver and make the same as that second job. Jesus fucking Christ, I can't believe there are people who give up three years and (usually) PAY to go to law school in order to maybe possibly have a shot at a 47k/year job. WTF? WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL GOING TO LAW SCHOOL?

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby Cogburn87 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:03 pm

Because it opens a lot of doors, bro

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:40 pm

But twenty, my point is that it is harder to get those jobs with a JD than without a JD, because there are non-JDs with relevant non-JD experience, and what incentive would an employer have to hire a JD instead of one of them? Having a JD says to an employer "I want to be a lawyer." You, the unemployed JD, may not actually feel that way (either from choice or necessity), but how you feel about it doesn't mean much if that's what seeing the JD says to employers. In a non-law setting, a JD looks out of the ordinary/weird, and many employers don't want anything to do with weird. Yes, I think in many non-legal settings having a JD is going to put you at a disadvantage over people who don't have them.

Now, again, I think people can and should re-tool and find other jobs. I don't in the slightest want to discourage them from doing that. When I say things like "it's harder to get some jobs *with* a JD than *without* a JD" (which I do think is correct), that's not to discourage people with JDs from applying for non-law jobs - it's for 0Ls (or those advising them) to stop repeating the same damn tired "but a JD is VERSATILE, it opens the door for LOTS of jobs" rhetoric.

And even when talking to the JDs looking for non-law jobs, saying "it's harder with a JD" isn't meant to make people think "what else am I going to do because no one wants to hire overqualified JDs, I guess I have to stick with law." The point is to make sure people understand that a JD sticks out and looks weird, so they can be proactive and figure out ways to overcome that. Someone applying for these other jobs with the mindset that a JD is helpful/attractive/gets them somewhere outside of law is not likely to have much success.

Basically, I'm still not convinced that JDs not looking at non-law jobs is the problem (or even a problem). I think the problem is that if you wash out of law (again, by choice or necessity), it's hard to retool and get something else. It's not impossible and people will eventually be able to do it, but people aren't just turning their nose up at these jobs. So "stop chasing law and find something else to do," when directed at JDs, is fine and all, it's just sort of "duh."

(For the record, there is a huge glut of librarians and any "local librarian" job is going to be extremely hard to get with a MLIS. And re: that second job - having a JD is not "the only way you'd be able to qualify by education" - it requires "progressively higher level graduate education or masters or equivalent graduate degree or LL.B. or J.D." Come on. If you meant "it's the only way a JD would be able to qualify by education," that's fine, but again, there are a lot of non-JDs out there who could qualify, too.)

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:37 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Having a JD says to an employer "I want to be a lawyer."


Just to address this, I've spoken to and met with a lot of employers (in a casual setting). Just anecdotally, I don't think people at the HR department of corporation inc. think:

"This person has a JD from at least a reasonably reputable school! Why aren't they a lawyer? They must have done horribly in school, are dumb, or are a huge flight risk. No thank you!"

A lot of people think JD is a signal. I hear a lot more of:

"Law school doesn't really teach you how to be a lawyer, but it's phenomenal for teaching problem solving and critical thinking skills." (I heard this from a non-lawyer doesn't-have-a-JD big-wig who probably hires people)

I really doubt the quoted statement. Unless someone has evidence more substantial than my anecdotal bullshit.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby twenty » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:35 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:But twenty, my point is that it is harder to get those jobs with a JD than without a JD, because there are non-JDs with relevant non-JD experience, and what incentive would an employer have to hire a JD instead of one of them?


Sure, but at this point we're talking about two different things. I'm operating from the presumption that this hypothetical JD graduate can't get in a time machine, go back five years and decide to not go to law school.

It's easy enough to make a broad claim like "oh, well, there will be other people that have actual experience applying for these jobs" - and that may be true, but it's certainly not universally true to the extent that a JD grad will get blocked by people with actual experience. A JD grad has a material advantage over a 22-year old college graduate who's applying for the same job. A JD grad will probably lose out to a 22-year old GED holder that has disabled veteran's preference. Apples to apples, the JD helps people applying to non-legal government jobs.

Having a JD says to an employer "I want to be a lawyer." You, the unemployed JD, may not actually feel that way (either from choice or necessity), but how you feel about it doesn't mean much if that's what seeing the JD says to employers. In a non-law setting, a JD looks out of the ordinary/weird, and many employers don't want anything to do with weird. Yes, I think in many non-legal settings having a JD is going to put you at a disadvantage over people who don't have them.


Like I've said in basically every post I've made on this thread I'm exclusively talking about PSLF-eligible government positions. You're straight up ignoring me when I tell you that "employers" here are "hiring authorities" that are given a scorecard, to which is factored in an advanced degree. If that person's advanced degree puts them higher up on the merit list, it does not matter what the person thinks. You asked if that was the same for state hiring authorities, and I told you yes, it was. The only thing having a JD says to a potential government employer is "circle the Y on the line that says "Advanced Degree: Y/N." You don't need to re-tool your career path, and you don't need to make up a lot of excuses for yourself in an interview.

When I say things like "it's harder to get some jobs *with* a JD than *without* a JD" (which I do think is correct), that's not to discourage people with JDs from applying for non-law jobs - it's for 0Ls (or those advising them) to stop repeating the same damn tired "but a JD is VERSATILE, it opens the door for LOTS of jobs" rhetoric.

And even when talking to the JDs looking for non-law jobs, saying "it's harder with a JD" isn't meant to make people think "what else am I going to do because no one wants to hire overqualified JDs, I guess I have to stick with law." The point is to make sure people understand that a JD sticks out and looks weird, so they can be proactive and figure out ways to overcome that. Someone applying for these other jobs with the mindset that a JD is helpful/attractive/gets them somewhere outside of law is not likely to have much success.


For the record, I completely agree with pushing back on the "but my uncle said a JD was really versatile" nonsense, but I've also (recently) seen this extended to borderline absurdity against law grads. Yeah, having a JD is probably going to screw you up if you're trying to get into a lot of private sector/non-profit non-legal spots. Just because it's true in a lot of cases doesn't mean it's true in all of them.

Anyone who's thinking they should go to law school because of the degree's versatility, though, needs to be taken out back and spanked.

Come on. If you meant "it's the only way a JD would be able to qualify by education," that's fine, but again, there are a lot of non-JDs out there who could qualify, too.)


My bad, I was running out the door and not typing out my thoughts very well. :oops: I meant to say that people with just their bachelor's degrees wouldn't be able to post for this job.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:47 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Having a JD says to an employer "I want to be a lawyer."


Just to address this, I've spoken to and met with a lot of employers (in a casual setting). Just anecdotally, I don't think people at the HR department of corporation inc. think:

"This person has a JD from at least a reasonably reputable school! Why aren't they a lawyer? They must have done horribly in school, are dumb, or are a huge flight risk. No thank you!"

A lot of people think JD is a signal. I hear a lot more of:

"Law school doesn't really teach you how to be a lawyer, but it's phenomenal for teaching problem solving and critical thinking skills." (I heard this from a non-lawyer doesn't-have-a-JD big-wig who probably hires people)

I really doubt the quoted statement. Unless someone has evidence more substantial than my anecdotal bullshit.

PnJ, based on my experience seeing candidates apply with advanced degrees, I just really don't think the above is generally true. I also don't think that what a bigwig who "probably" hired people tells you about hiring when you're considering law school is necessarily the same thing that happens when you, the JD, apply for jobs.

Twenty, when I asked if the scorecard thing applied to state jobs you didn't actually say yes previously. And the reason I'm kind of suspicious that it plays out this way is, again, the difficulty I've seen people with advanced degrees actually have when actually applying to government jobs. You're right that I'm probably conflating non-government jobs to some extent, I just know a lot of people who've struggled with government jobs, and people have had to re-tool and sell themselves just as much to get an entry-level government gig as a private gig. It may just be because of the economy, but that's how it's played out.

But yes, people should definitely be applying for these jobs, absolutely. And they can get them.

(Whether PSLF is going to survive is a whole other question, of course.)

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:59 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Having a JD says to an employer "I want to be a lawyer."


Just to address this, I've spoken to and met with a lot of employers (in a casual setting). Just anecdotally, I don't think people at the HR department of corporation inc. think:

"This person has a JD from at least a reasonably reputable school! Why aren't they a lawyer? They must have done horribly in school, are dumb, or are a huge flight risk. No thank you!"

A lot of people think JD is a signal. I hear a lot more of:

"Law school doesn't really teach you how to be a lawyer, but it's phenomenal for teaching problem solving and critical thinking skills." (I heard this from a non-lawyer doesn't-have-a-JD big-wig who probably hires people)

I really doubt the quoted statement. Unless someone has evidence more substantial than my anecdotal bullshit.

PnJ, based on my experience seeing candidates apply with advanced degrees, I just really don't think the above is generally true. I also don't think that what a bigwig who "probably" hired people tells you about hiring when you're considering law school is necessarily the same thing that happens when you, the JD, apply for jobs.

Twenty, when I asked if the scorecard thing applied to state jobs you didn't actually say yes previously. And the reason I'm kind of suspicious that it plays out this way is, again, the difficulty I've seen people with advanced degrees actually have when actually applying to government jobs. You're right that I'm probably conflating non-government jobs to some extent, I just know a lot of people who've struggled with government jobs, and people have had to re-tool and sell themselves just as much to get an entry-level government gig as a private gig. It may just be because of the economy, but that's how it's played out.

But yes, people should definitely be applying for these jobs, absolutely. And they can get them.

(Whether PSLF is going to survive is a whole other question, of course.)

My question would be whether this would be a concern for any excellent candidate.

What if you're going for an entry level programmer for 40k, and you have a bright and personable Harvard grad applying or even a restaurant manager who is exceptionally good with people and getting them to perform? Wouldn't there be a similar fear they'll bail, and worse yet, bail for your competitor who can pay them more?

My uninformed presumption would be it may have to do with the presumption if a lawyer from that school has to work here then there must be something wrong with them, or they're lazy. Ultimately as people become more informed, if this were the issue wouldn't it work itself out?

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:23 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:My question would be whether this would be a concern for any excellent candidate.

What if you're going for an entry level programmer for 40k, and you have a bright and personable Harvard grad applying or even a restaurant manager who is exceptionally good with people and getting them to perform? Wouldn't there be a similar fear they'll bail, and worse yet, bail for your competitor who can pay them more?

My uninformed presumption would be it may have to do with the presumption if a lawyer from that school has to work here then there must be something wrong with them, or they're lazy. Ultimately as people become more informed, if this were the issue wouldn't it work itself out?

See, I don't think having a JD/being overqualified makes you an excellent candidate. It's something that has to be explained, that someone who doesn't have a JD doesn't have to explain. Trying to hire a good candidate who's appealing to other employers in the same industry is different from finding a candidate who's appealing to employers in a totally different industry.

I'm sure if non-law people understand that a JD isn't a ticket to employment, that could help. Like, someplace that's already hired a JD for a non-law job is more likely to be willing to do so than a place that hasn't. But it's not even so much that the assumption will be that someone with a JD applying for non-law jobs must be a loser who couldn't get a job for whatever unflattering reasons. It's that if you have a JD you look like you're changing careers, and career-changers have to sell themselves/explain why they're making that change in a way that someone without any experience or, especially, with experience in that field doesn't have to. Anything that needs additional explanation to a hiring person makes it harder to get a job.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:26 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:My question would be whether this would be a concern for any excellent candidate.

What if you're going for an entry level programmer for 40k, and you have a bright and personable Harvard grad applying or even a restaurant manager who is exceptionally good with people and getting them to perform? Wouldn't there be a similar fear they'll bail, and worse yet, bail for your competitor who can pay them more?

My uninformed presumption would be it may have to do with the presumption if a lawyer from that school has to work here then there must be something wrong with them, or they're lazy. Ultimately as people become more informed, if this were the issue wouldn't it work itself out?

See, I don't think having a JD/being overqualified makes you an excellent candidate. It's something that has to be explained, that someone who doesn't have a JD doesn't have to explain. Trying to hire a good candidate who's appealing to other employers in the same industry is different from finding a candidate who's appealing to employers in a totally different industry.

I'm sure if non-law people understand that a JD isn't a ticket to employment, that could help. Like, someplace that's already hired a JD for a non-law job is more likely to be willing to do so than a place that hasn't. But it's not even so much that the assumption will be that someone with a JD applying for non-law jobs must be a loser who couldn't get a job for whatever unflattering reasons. It's that if you have a JD you look like you're changing careers, and career-changers have to sell themselves/explain why they're making that change in a way that someone without any experience or, especially, with experience in that field doesn't have to. Anything that needs additional explanation to a hiring person makes it harder to get a job.

I meant if the JD stigma is the fear of leaving wouldn't this be also be a fear with candidates that actually are excellent?

I think having to explain why not law is an issue for many people who have to explain why law. Nobody asks a political science major why they weren't a political scientist.

But they ask engineering majors why they weren't engineers and art majors why they weren't artists. With the latter there's often a catch-22, because there's normally 2 truths. 1.) Money, 2.) Not getting to do the kind of art they want. 1.) turns off many pretentious people. 2.) leads to the stigma you'll be unhappy if you can't get the exact work you want when the reality is that dreaming of being a litigator but doing doc review for a great litigator is very different from wanting to be an impressionist painter doing cartoon sketches of couples walking in the park. Many people with JD's have to overcome the "good at another thing" stigma to get a legal job.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:11 pm

I think there's a huge difference between 1) majoring in something in school, graduating, and looking for a job, and 2) majoring in something in school, graduating, going to grad school in [whatever specialized thing], and then looking for a job in [not the specialized thing]. Tons of people leave undergrad and just go do something not necessarily related to their degree (hello, humanities majors) - no one thinks this is especially weird. Doing so after grad school is just harder.

So yes, my focus is really on career-changing, and yes, someone who has an MFA or a master's in engineering (or whatever you get in engineering) who goes to do something entirely different is going to have a similar difficulty in getting entry level jobs in that entirely unrelated thing. (The engineer probably has a lot more engineering-related options to explore than a JD or MFA, though.) I'm not saying this unique to JDs, I'm just saying that JDs suffer from the same problem.

I mean, I changed careers after doing advanced degrees in another field and yes, in all my legal interviews I had to explain why not [my former career]. But I'd gone to grad school and spent 3 years getting the JD and did legal internships during school and all that good stuff, so I could show that I really wanted to do law. If I had left my previous career and tried to start over in unrelated work without going to grad school in that field (as many people I know have done) it would have been much much harder.

And I don't think the stigma is simply "the JD is going to leave." It's more "the JD doesn't want to be here to begin with/the JD doesn't know how this industry works/the JD will think they're owed something because they have an advanced degree/we don't have any people with JDs in this company." The JD just isn't equivalent to an excellent candidate from within the given industry.

Again: people can and do change careers. Some JDs definitely should. I'm just saying someone with an advanced degree faces obstacles that people without advanced degrees don't face. People need to be able to figure out how to overcome them.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby UnicornHunter » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:40 pm

This is why it's never too early to not get a JD. Ideally, people just wouldn't go to law school. But if you do, it's important to keep your eyes peeled for the first opportunity to drop out.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:16 pm

The "explaining why you want a non-law job" is kind of a catch 22, because although a lot of decent non-law jobs are much better from an hours/pay perspective, a lot of people not in law still have no idea how shitty most lawyers' career options are. It has the effect of them thinking you're too good for them, when the reality is that their option is better than anything you're going to have ever.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby bjsesq » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:26 pm

JCougar wrote:
twenty wrote:It's not that I don't have the utmost sympathy for anyone who's 2-3 years out from their JD and still looking for legal work, but the idea that it's just too hard to find PSLF-eligible work is untrue. Obviously, if the only PSLF-eligible work you'll consider taking is a GS-9 with automatic upward mobility to a 13 at a large federal agency, then yeah, it's going to be really hard to find said work. On the other extreme, Army will enlist basically any college graduate with a pulse. Between those two extremes, there are plenty of PSLF-qualifying jobs that K-JDs just will not go for. I find it hard to imagine that a K-JD wouldn't be competitive for large police departments or low-level state government positions. It really sucks to be starting a career alongside 23-24 year olds when you're 30, but the folks that are 2-3 years unemployed after a JD openly admit that they've wasted half a decade of their lives as it is.


Of course, some of us went to law school because we actually love doing what lawyers do, and also happen to be good at it.

The fastest way to end your legal career is to take a non-law job. If you can find a good one (and like many have said, it's not easy to get good non-law jobs because everyone thinks--and most of the time, rightly so--you will bail for a real law job the first chance you get) then that's good for you, but your chances of then going back to law are virtually zero.

This really isn't true. I work a non-law job and have numerous requests for me to come practice. It really depends on the perceived preftige of the non-law job you are doing and whether or not the firm sees your particular expertise as valuable to their practice.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:34 pm

bjsesq wrote:This really isn't true. I work a non-law job and have numerous requests for me to come practice. It really depends on the perceived preftige of the non-law job you are doing and whether or not the firm sees your particular expertise as valuable to their practice.


I suppose that can be true for certain jobs. I've heard the "once you're done with law, we consider you done" more often than the alternative, but I suppose if you get into a decent consulting job in the area of law you're looking to practice in later, I've heard of some people doing this and it not ruining your career.

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Re: Vale of Tears is the Most Horrifying Thread on TLS

Postby bjsesq » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:43 pm

JCougar wrote:
bjsesq wrote:This really isn't true. I work a non-law job and have numerous requests for me to come practice. It really depends on the perceived preftige of the non-law job you are doing and whether or not the firm sees your particular expertise as valuable to their practice.


I suppose that can be true for certain jobs. I've heard the "once you're done with law, we consider you done" more often than the alternative, but I suppose if you get into a decent consulting job in the area of law you're looking to practice in later, I've heard of some people doing this and it not ruining your career.

Yeah, I would definitely say that it is not something you can count on. It's really a kinda "stars align" situation for a particular person's expertise.




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