telling future employees about LS plans?

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katesearches
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:27 pm

telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby katesearches » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:52 pm

I searched for this, but couldn't find a thread that parallels my situation. I'm interested in getting a job as a legal assistant/paralegal before applying this coming fall.

In the other threads I've read, people were talking about how they got dinged when they told their employers they were planning on applying to law school. I guess future employers thought it would be a waste of time/training someone who would leave in a year or two? But at the same time, I've been hearing that for legal assistant/paralegal jobs, they almost expect people to stay for a few years/leave, etc, so it wouldn't hurt.

So I'm unsure what I should do. If I follow advice on an older thread, the best thing would be to NOT tell them, but I feel like this is kinda lying by omission... Plus, I could be building contacts/ getting future references (from employers during/after law school), so wouldn't it make me look bad if I just walked in, applied, got the job, didn't say a thing about law school, and a year later said "BYE".

Also, there are a lot of things on my resume that reflect my interest in law, so I generally feel that it'd make more sense to be frank about my LS plans? Even if I don't specifically say, it seems likely the question would be brought up because of certain things on my resume. What do you guys think? What have your experiences been so far? Specifically in applying to assistant/paralegal positions?

aquaokay
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:04 pm

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby aquaokay » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:14 pm

I've been looking for a similar position for a while now and so I am basically in the same situation. This is just from looking at a lot of job postings so take it for what it's worth, but from what I can gather there are generally two kinds of paralegal openings: those seeking people with 2+ years experience, and those who are looking for people with no serious experience but often "willing to train the right candidate from top school and/or with good grades, ect..." The former are usually looking for someone to stick around a while, while the latter seem targeted for people like us who they know are just looking to get some experience before LS and expect them to leave in a year or two. I'd imagine that firms just hire people like us who they know will leave soon because we're a lot cheaper than a paralegal with experience (Most starting salaries are usually $25-$35k for less permanent positions as opposed to $40k+ for those who they expect to stay), but that's just a guess.

TL;DR: I don't think it's necessary to cover anything up since most of the places you'd be qualified for don't expect you to stick around for more than 2 years anyway.

Good luck in your job search!

suzige
Posts: 307
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:10 pm

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby suzige » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:19 pm

I've had this dilemma myself. Sucks.

katesearches
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:27 pm

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby katesearches » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:25 pm

aquaokay wrote:I've been looking for a similar position for a while now and so I am basically in the same situation. This is just from looking at a lot of job postings so take it for what it's worth, but from what I can gather there are generally two kinds of paralegal openings: those seeking people with 2+ years experience, and those who are looking for people with no serious experience but often "willing to train the right candidate from top school and/or with good grades, ect..." The former are usually looking for someone to stick around a while, while the latter seem targeted for people like us who they know are just looking to get some experience before LS and expect them to leave in a year or two. I'd imagine that firms just hire people like us who they know will leave soon because we're a lot cheaper than a paralegal with experience (Most starting salaries are usually $25-$35k for less permanent positions as opposed to $40k+ for those who they expect to stay), but that's just a guess.

TL;DR: I don't think it's necessary to cover anything up since most of the places you'd be qualified for don't expect you to stick around for more than 2 years anyway.

Good luck in your job search!


Thanks! I was starting to notice these differences too, and this puts my mind a lot at ease

dudders
Posts: 467
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:56 pm

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby dudders » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:31 pm

I was a paralegal before law school. Got hired knowing I was going to school the next year. Partner heard from someone around town I had applied to law school and asked me about it (in February). Small town, people talk.

My last day was supposed to be in August. They "let me go" six weeks early because the finances weren't so hot at the moment, and tried to get me to sign something saying they were "letting me" go to law school (so I wouldn't be able to claim unemployment on them). I refused. Then they offered me sketchy contract work - refusing that definitely made me ineligible for unemployment.

Based on that experience, I wouldn't say jack.

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BVest
Posts: 5682
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby BVest » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:36 pm

Don't disclose. None of their business and if you don't get in where you want, you might decide to stick around and retake/reapply. If they know, they might already be planning around that.

If you have a job in which you're indispensable (and you like your employer), give additional notice as necessary to allow for a search/hire/transition for your replacement. If not, give two weeks. Also, have to good sense to know if you're indispensable.

katesearches
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:27 pm

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby katesearches » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:34 pm

dudders wrote:I was a paralegal before law school. Got hired knowing I was going to school the next year. Partner heard from someone around town I had applied to law school and asked me about it (in February). Small town, people talk.

My last day was supposed to be in August. They "let me go" six weeks early because the finances weren't so hot at the moment, and tried to get me to sign something saying they were "letting me" go to law school (so I wouldn't be able to claim unemployment on them). I refused. Then they offered me sketchy contract work - refusing that definitely made me ineligible for unemployment.

Based on that experience, I wouldn't say jack.


On the contrary, wouldn't it have been better if you told them in advance, so they wouldn't have found out that way/left on not so positive terms?

dudders
Posts: 467
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:56 pm

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby dudders » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:40 pm

katesearches wrote:
dudders wrote:I was a paralegal before law school. Got hired knowing I was going to school the next year. Partner heard from someone around town I had applied to law school and asked me about it (in February). Small town, people talk.

My last day was supposed to be in August. They "let me go" six weeks early because the finances weren't so hot at the moment, and tried to get me to sign something saying they were "letting me" go to law school (so I wouldn't be able to claim unemployment on them). I refused. Then they offered me sketchy contract work - refusing that definitely made me ineligible for unemployment.

Based on that experience, I wouldn't say jack.


On the contrary, wouldn't it have been better if you told them in advance, so they wouldn't have found out that way/left on not so positive terms?


Only if "better" means being unemployed for the year before school, which wasn't really an option. I needed the job and I took it. I was planning on telling them once I was sure where I was going, I just got beaten to the punch.

And for the record I left on great terms. They loved me, they're a great reference, and as they bs laid me off they told me they hoped I would still be interested in working there after I graduate.

My advice to the OP stands. If keeping your job and having a paycheck is important to you, give polite but not immediate notice. The economy blows, don't volunteer yourself to be first on the chopping block.

sunshinegirl
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 2:19 am

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby sunshinegirl » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:38 am

I think this will depend on the employer. I work at a law firm where the employers expect all of their legal assistants to only work for a year or two and then go off to law school. Other firms are looking for a more long-term employee. Based on my own experience and those of friends working at other law firms, the employer will usually specify what kind of commitment they are looking for.

With that said, I agree with some of the other posters that it's fine to keep your options open, especially if you think you might change your mind about law school given the right incentives. My friend accepted a paralegal position that was supposed to last a year, with the intention of going to law school right afterwards. She enjoyed the job so much that she's planning to stay there for a few years and go to school part-time (and possibly work for the firm after she gets her JD).

CCyeah
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:52 pm

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby CCyeah » Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:54 am

BVest wrote:Don't disclose. None of their business and if you don't get in where you want, you might decide to stick around and retake/reapply. If they know, they might already be planning around that.


+1. You never know what may happen; your law school plans may change. For example, I was up for a legal assistant job last fall where the hiring manager asked me if I was planning on going to law school in the near future. I told her that I had already submitted applications to begin school in fall 2012. She then told me that they weren't looking to hire and train someone for just a year. NOW here I am not going to law school this fall and without that awesome job. I wasn't going to lie to her, but had she not asked, I would not have disclosed.

shock259
Posts: 1737
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:30 am

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby shock259 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:00 pm

I was a paralegal before LS. My firm had a policy of hiring people straight out of undergrad and keeping them around for 1-2 years. I told them of my plans and I got the job without issue. No issues when I left and I was able to train my successor.

tigyrgrl
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 9:13 am

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby tigyrgrl » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:20 am

I currently work as a paralegal. I am finishing up my undergrad, and the majority of the attorneys I work directly with are very supportive of my designs on law school. I was asked during my internship interview with this firm if I was interested in long term employment. My answer was yes. The majority of the paralegals at this firm have been here 10+ years. So an interest in longevity is very important to them.

It is also important to make sure that you don't treat a job as though you are just passing through. That is what is off putting to so many employers about having students, interns, or summers.

nebbersa
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:47 pm

Re: telling future employees about LS plans?

Postby nebbersa » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:19 pm

katesearches wrote:I searched for this, but couldn't find a thread that parallels my situation. I'm interested in getting a job as a legal assistant/paralegal before applying this coming fall.

In the other threads I've read, people were talking about how they got dinged when they told their employers they were planning on applying to law school. I guess future employers thought it would be a waste of time/training someone who would leave in a year or two? But at the same time, I've been hearing that for legal assistant/paralegal jobs, they almost expect people to stay for a few years/leave, etc, so it wouldn't hurt.

So I'm unsure what I should do. If I follow advice on an older thread, the best thing would be to NOT tell them, but I feel like this is kinda lying by omission... Plus, I could be building contacts/ getting future references (from employers during/after law school), so wouldn't it make me look bad if I just walked in, applied, got the job, didn't say a thing about law school, and a year later said "BYE".

Also, there are a lot of things on my resume that reflect my interest in law, so I generally feel that it'd make more sense to be frank about my LS plans? Even if I don't specifically say, it seems likely the question would be brought up because of certain things on my resume. What do you guys think? What have your experiences been so far? Specifically in applying to assistant/paralegal positions?


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