TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

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adjunct
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TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby adjunct » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:18 pm

OK, I have been a longtime lurker here, and at jdunderground and autoadmit. I thought I would share my story and give my thoughts to anyone who wants them.

My stats:

TTT grad, class of mid-2000s, BEFORE the current job market implosion. No debt (full ride). Non-trad (older), but not URM. Prior work experience in the area I wanted to be practicing. Left a job I loved - low pay but great security - to take the chance. Graduated top 10%, not from being particularly brilliant, but from being a bit older and mature than my classmates and therefore taking the situation seriously and knowing things like not to start the weekly drinking binge on Wednesdays and blacking out until Monday, as a lot of them seemed to do.

Struck out at 2L OCI, despite good grades, law review and being told in mock OCI interviews that I interviewed well. Got lots of screening interviews and and a handfull of callbacks, but no offers. However, by old fashioned hard work (i.e., sending letters and resumes to employers who may be attracted to my pre-LS background and work experience) and dumb luck, I managed to land a 2L summer job at a leading national firm known for the area I wanted to get into. Not quite "biglaw" by the definition that seems to count around here and on autoadmit / jdu, but ~ 750 attorneys at a few dozen offices nationally with starting pay over $100K, though not $160K. (This is why I said "Biglaw (sorta)" in the thread title.)

I loved the substantive area of law I was practicing because of my prior experience. But I hated the day-to-day grind: the hours, stress, and mind-numbing drudgery of civil litigation / discovery BS. (Although the people I worked with were kinda cool.) Money was awesome; bigger salary than I ever thought I would make. I stuck it out for a few years until I was a mid-level associate, when I started looking for a non-firm job by posting my resume on one of the big internet job search sites. A recruiter (inhouse, as opposed to from a headhunting firm) found me with what sounded like a great opportunity, so I jumped ship. Big (1/3) pay cut, but I totally love what I am doing now as inhouse counsel in my area of expertise.

Also by chance, the opportunity to teach a course in my specialty opened up at a local law school, so I will be doing that next year. (But only as an adjunct; hence my handle and "Law Professor (sorta)" in the thread title.) Pretty cool, though I guess that makes me at least somewhat complicit in the law school scam thing the people on jdu obsess about, even though I will be making hardly anything.

My lessons learned: it is friggn' HARD to get a job in biglaw / through OCI as a non-URM from a TTT, even with great grades and even before the current job situation. I see posts here from people thinking of leaving a current job to go to LS. Seems crazy. But, as in my case, it can end up OK. However, I thank my lucky stars every day that I did not end up like a lot of my classmates. I don't know if I would do it all over again. Working at a firm sucked, but I love what I am doing now. It was probably stupid of me to leave my previous job. If I had found sites like jdu back when I was considering the jump (if those sites even existed then), I likely would not have taken the risk. I was naive going in. I feel very lucky that I had what few options were available to me when I graduated and am very fortunate to have things work out the way they did.

I see a lot of people here who are just where I was 8-10 years ago, with a lot of the same concerns. So if I can share anything to help anyone out, as one who has been through the whole LS / job search thing from a non-T1 and ended up doing OK - but who still regularly questions whether in the long run it was the right thing to do - let me know.

Good luck to everyone who has big upcoming decisions to make!

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PKSebben
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby PKSebben » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:24 pm

Thanks for posting.

Also by chance, the opportunity to teach a course in my specialty opened up at a local law school, so I will be doing that next year. (But only as an adjunct; hence my handle and "Law Professor (sorta)" in the thread title.) Pretty cool, though I guess that makes me at least somewhat complicit in the law school scam thing the people on jdu obsess about, even though I will be making hardly anything.


please DESCRIBE how you got the adjunct position. I hope you'll check in from time to time and talk about your experience.

sumus romani
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby sumus romani » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:25 pm

You caught the wave of sustained extremely low unemployment. That wave is over and will likely never be seen again in our lifetimes--certainly not in the next decade. Also, remember that the other 90% of the class below you had a worse time of it, even in the boom years.

adjunct
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby adjunct » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:36 pm

PKSebben wrote:Thanks for posting.

please DESCRIBE how you got the adjunct position.

The best way to describe it is "networking."

I kept in touch with people, became a mentor for law students / recent grads in my practice area through the school, heard about the potential opening from the connections I made there, and jumped on it.

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PKSebben
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby PKSebben » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:37 pm

"networking."


Excellent. I will get right on pulling myself up by my bootstraps.

adjunct
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby adjunct » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:44 pm

sumus romani wrote:You caught the wave of sustained extremely low unemployment. That wave is over and will likely never be seen again in our lifetimes--certainly not in the next decade. Also, remember that the other 90% of the class below you had a worse time of it, even in the boom years.

Yup, as I said, I consider myself extremely lucky, including as to timing. That's why at the beginning of my OP I made clear that this was BEFORE the current job market implosion - I know things have only gotten worse.

That was partially my point: even in a better job market and at the top of my class, I still only barely scraped by into a good situation. So even then law school was a risky proposition.

But, it is not like other fields are faring much better. Other than people I know from law school who are still having trouble finding employment, I have lots of friends who have been laid off mid-career from all sorts of fields in the past couple of years. And it could still happen to me. Scary times all around.

adjunct
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby adjunct » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:46 pm

PKSebben wrote:
"networking."


Excellent. I will get right on pulling myself up by my bootstraps.

Yeah, I know. I hated using that word (which is why I put it in quotes - maybe I should have added a smiley too so as not to offend?).

But that is what it was, and for better or worse, employers tend to hire people whom they know and trust personally.

sumus romani
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby sumus romani » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:58 pm

It sounds like you did get biglaw (in terms of firm size), but in a market such as Portland, Denver, KC, Charlotte, etc. I take it that the firm did not participate in your school's OCI, since you said that you struck out there. If so, how did you get your firm job?

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Matthies
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby Matthies » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:03 pm

adjunct wrote:
PKSebben wrote:Thanks for posting.

please DESCRIBE how you got the adjunct position.

The best way to describe it is "networking."

I kept in touch with people, became a mentor for law students / recent grads in my practice area through the school, heard about the potential opening from the connections I made there, and jumped on it.


This and having knowledge of an area that tendered professors at the school don't I would guess?

I know two lawyer friends of mine both with about eight years legal work experience that will be teaching as adjuctings next year. One in employments rights discrimination (as that's what she practices) and the other in Tribal Natural resources (again what they prtice, and big here because the tribes in the west have lots of reserves of natural resources that have yet to be tapped by private companies, worth likely more than all the Indian casinos added up).

adjunct
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby adjunct » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:10 pm

sumus romani wrote:It sounds like you did get biglaw (in terms of firm size), but in a market such as Portland, Denver, KC, Charlotte, etc. I take it that the firm did not participate in your school's OCI, since you said that you struck out there. If so, how did you get your firm job?

From my OP:

[By] sending letters and resumes to employers who may be attracted to my pre-LS background and work experience[.]


I researched firms that were known for the practice area I wanted. Once I identified them, I followed their firm-wide hiring processes as outlined on NALP's and the firms' own websites. I also sent cover letters / resumes to the individual offices I was interested in.

You are correct that the firm at which I eventually landed did not participate in my school's OCI.

adjunct
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Re: TTT > Biglaw (sorta) > Inhouse > Law Professor (sorta)

Postby adjunct » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:14 pm

Matthies wrote:This and having knowledge of an area that tendered professors at the school don't I would guess?

I assume so. It is a fairly specialized area. I do not know what the school's process is for looking at existing faculty to teach a class before looking outside, but I assume the process was followed and no one internal wanted / was qualified to teach it.




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