crazycanuck wrote:JD's get stuck between job requirements. JDs can add value to an applicant. However outside of legal hiring, if you have a JD you will be seen as overqualified/flight risk/waiting for a better job for entry level positions, and school is not a replacement for experience/results so you won't have the requirements for the 2-5 year experience jobs making it tougher to break in.
It's just another presumption you have to rebut in the race for people who strike out at OCI to fight for whatever job scraps that are left. An employer is going to wonder why, after spending $250K and three years of your life pursuing law, you would want to go back to a job that you could have had anyway. Usually, they make the mostly valid assumption that you went to law school to be a lawyer.
I started doing temp/document review work this week to make some income while I volunteer at my PSLF job. You see, I am dirt-poor, living with another temp attorney from my class in a building that is heavily rent-subsidized. I'm almost 2 years out of law school, so I'm past the time when my trap school subsidized my job with a meager stipend (that ended up being less than minimum wage anyway) so that it could count me as "employed, FT, LT" 9 months after graduation. You'd be surprised at how fast the CSO cuts off the money and refuses to return your calls/e-mails as soon as this percentage is tallied up and sent to the ABA/US News. They treat you as if you are a telemarketer calling at dinnertime. Funny, though, I still get solicitations for donations once every month.
It's always interesting what I find in the fire exit stairway I use to leave in the morning (it's faster than waiting for the elevators, which are broken most of the time anyways). Yesterday, I saw a pool of vomit in one of the landings of the stairwell. Last month, I saw two discarded crack pipes, one of which I accidentally stepped on and crushed. I'm at least glad it's not the summer and I was not wearing sandals or something. The walls and floors are extremely thin, and I can hear every word of the people who live above me when they scream at each other over who gets visitation rights with their kids, who was cheating on who, etc. I was also kicked off Medicaid this week because I was stupid enough to move to a state where Republicans refused to fill in the Medicaid gap to thwart Obamacare. And I don't make enough to be eligible for the healthcare marketplace subsidies. So basically I need an income badly. I tried to sign up for being a taxi driver, because Uber isn't allowed in this city, but they make you pay a ton of money to rent your own cab 24/7, so you have to drive an insane amount of hours just to pay off the cab rental. And I need to work enough hours at my PSLF volunteer-ship to keep that on my resume, because any blank space after graduation immediately makes you look like a pathetic loser attorney. So that was out. So I turned to the only option available to those who strike out at OCI at a "Top 20" school: document review.
The horror stories that "areyouinsane" told in this thread (mandatory reading for 0Ls
) are all mostly true:viewtopic.php?f=23&t=157855
We work in this formerly abandoned office space that constitutes an entire floor of a building, and yet all ~100 or so coders are jammed into two small rooms, despite all the empty space elsewhere. My room has about 35 people in it--but it's about the same size a room as would house maybe 3-4 cubicles under normal circumstances. I feel lucky because the other room has glass walls so the supervisors can constantly monitor you to make sure you're not screwing around. We're all packed elbow-to-elbow on thin card-tables with cut-rate computers and monitors the temp agency probably bought as surplus from the manufacturer--either that or they bought them for pennies on the dollar due to another organization going bankrupt. Since the room was built to house no more than 3-4 desks, there's a shortage of electrical outlets, so all these computers are powered by a rat's nest of extension cords and power strips that are constantly getting pulled out/tripped over. More people would probably complain to OSHA about these potentially life-threatening work conditions, but I suspect a lot of them are not so sure death by electrocution would not be a more desirable fate anyway. You don't get a paid lunch break, so most people just work through lunch and eat at their desks--and if someone brings in smelly leftovers, everyone has to endure it for hours on end. Because there's so many people crammed into this small space, it gets very hot, and there's no ventilation.
And in case you think I'm some unique loser, there's 5 other people from my T20 trap school on this project alone--4 of which are from my graduating class. Most of us weren't bad students, either. But only one of us was in the Top 25% or so. It's really a surprising mix of people: some older lawyers that were discarded before making partner from both Biglaw and Shitlaw firms. Some middle-aged lawyers whose spouses bring home most of the bacon and they are just there to earn some extra cash. Some lawyers near retirement that are too tired to do a full-bore litigation gig, but still want to keep active. And of course, a lot of new graduates with no other options. This project pays more than usual: $21/hour with no overtime and no healthcare. A lot of the projects around here pay out a mere $18/hour. So I guess I feel a bit lucky. If you are able to get regular project work, $21/hour would equate to $43K/year if you were able to work a full 40 hours a week each week of the year. The problem with this is that these projects last only a few weeks/months, and in between projects sometimes you have to wait 3-4 weeks for another one to start up. Nevertheless, a career as a document review attorney likely pays as much as most shitlaw firms start you out at: $30-40K--but you're working longer hours in shitlaw and the work is almost as boring and pointless (a fate that another group of my T20 classmates are currently suffering). Both jobs are a huge stain on your resume and will prevent you from getting a real attorney job in the future, because you're not building any skills--just clicking through millions of images of documents that your client was ordered to produce by a discovery request. A lot of newer attorneys will have to do some of this--even in Biglaw--but if that's the only thing you do all day, you're basically getting zero useful experience.
The "bosses" at this temp agency aren't nearly as bad as areyouinsane describes. Most of them were once coders, and they at least have a sense of humor about how stupid all of this is. But half of the people they manage are nuts, so they also have lines that you absolutely cannot cross: for example, never directly contact the Biglaw attorneys managing the project, despite them giving their e-mail to contact if you have any questions. See, in the past, temp attorneys probably abused this and asked a bunch of stupid questions (that they of course thought made them look thoughtful/smart) and/or tried to turn this into a networking opportunity, so the partners probably yelled at the temp agency manager to have them stop. The agency is also thinking about ordering cell-phone lockers where you have to check your phone in before work to prevent you from texting your friends when you're supposed to be clicking "responsive" on the e-pile of 2,500 documents you have to read through that day. Nevertheless, the work day isn't all that bad, because we can all joke about being broke and about how big of a scam this profession is, and there's no need to "maintain appearances" and fellate those around you and pretend like you love it here, because it's obvious that nobody does and nobody expects you to. You're pretty much free to be your vulgar self as long as you don't break the basic rules.
The first scam is law school, of course. It used to be that it was mostly TTT grads that were getting scammed. However, even in the good days 10 years ago, at most 75% of all law grads were getting lawyer jobs, and it wasn't only TTT losers that were striking out. But these numbers were probably highly inflated. A better estimate regarding the ratio of jobs to JD grads is probably here:http://www.economicmodeling.com/2014/01 ... continues/
There are lawyer jobs for only about 46% of all law grads, and that includes people going solo as a "job." Most new grads that do this are in for a world of pain, though. The real jobs number is probably in the lower 40% range. And that jobs number constitutes mostly of people employed in shitlaw making $40K if they are lucky.
The thing most 0Ls need to realize is that the math is still bleak. Only about 1 in 7 JD grads ends up getting a job that pays enough to repay their loans on their own. Maybe another 1 in 10 eventually gets a PSLF job that forgives your debt. But these jobs are rare with the current government budget constraints at the national, state, and local levels, and with shrinking donations to legal aid non-profits. And to get these jobs, you usually have to volunteer for at least a year, and live in sub-minimum-wage poverty and possibly no healthcare as you wait for your agency or department to get permission from the legislature to be able to hire. And even after volunteering for 1-2 years, the job openings are incredibly competitive, since there are 1,000 TTT losers per government job looking for any way possible to be able to pay off their loans, and it's always possible that 1 of those 1,000 has an uncle or something that can get them in the door. And then of course if that doesn't happen, the job will not go to you or these TTT losers, but to some baby boomer Biglaw partner that decides he/she has had enough of the rat race, but is not yet ready to retire yet (despite having enough money to retire 10 times over), and wants to "do something good with their life" so they apply for the same PSLF job you desperately need to keep yourself out of your crack-addict-filled apartment. What agency is going to turn down a Biglaw partner to hire some freshly-minted law grad that wasn't taught how to do even the most basic lawyer stuff in law school? Even if you graduated from Harvard, you're not getting that job.
The main lesson is that PSLF is just as competitive as Biglaw, and it's not a legitimate fall-back option that you can count on if you fail at OCI.
The bottom line is that probably at least 80% of all new attorneys will never be able to pay off their school debt without help from their family or from a FedGov loan forgiveness plan.
The other lesson is that there's no consolation prize for barely missing out on Biglaw. There's no silver medal. There's no second place. If you strike out from OCI, most people are going straight into the bowels of shitlaw, a volunteer position, trying and failing to make it as a solo, document review, or back into their parents' basement. Maybe 2-3 people total from each school might find something from 3L OCI, and another 1-2 might find something from mass-mailing their 3L year or after the bar. There's a lot of well-intended advice on this forum to keep trying, mass-mailing, networking, etc., but this is not guaranteed to work out. And it may be true that this is good individual advice, but it won't change the bottom line: no matter how hard each person tries to find something, there's still only one good job out there for every 7 law grads, so 6 out of 7 are going to be completely screwed.
If you think this seems pessimistic, you haven't fully grasped the nature of the legal industry. It's just one pyramid scheme after another to make the 1% rich at the expense of the other 99%. The first pyramid scheme is law school itself, which abuses government loans and defrauds students to pay exorbitant salaries to people working easy jobs at the schools. The second pyramid scheme is the law firms that lead new grads along as associates and then fire you or run you off before you make partner. This happens at shitlaw mills as well as Biglaw. If you think going to a "T14" makes you immune to this, you are sorely mistaken. One statistic from one of the most elite (and the most expensive) law schools in the country sums this all up perfectly:
Unemployed_Northeastern • 11 days ago
NYC Biglaw market rate: $160k
CLS tuition: $38k
NYC Biglaw market rate: $160k
CLS tuition: $60k
As an associate, you're basically there to bill hours so that the partners can collect overhead on what they charge the clients--and meanwhile, you're an expendable piece of human capital that can easily be fired as soon as you do one thing wrong or start getting too expensive. After all, there's likely 1,000 other desperate losers lined up like hyenas ready to take your place in a heartbeat. What money you do take home instantly goes to pay back the exorbitant debt used to puff up the first pyramid scheme. This structure is likely to never change despite the manifest corruption, waste, and injustice it creates, because the regulatory apparatuses have been captured by the 1% that benefit from all this.
That's the real problem with this profession: the insane competitiveness of everything. Except it's a petty, superficial kind of competitiveness. There's always something not perfect about you--there's always someone who went to a better school, had better grades, had a better clerkship, has more experience, is a former war hero, is better at bringing in/maintaining clients, etc. And there's always hundreds of people salivating at taking your job if you can't cut it. I've met former Biglaw people that are now relegated to doing traffic ticket defense. For $150, you can get your traffic ticket turned into a non-moving violation so that you can pass the C&F section of the bar by former Biglaw attorneys that were laid off. The slightest fuck up and you can be replaced at the snap of someone's fingers--and then you get thrown in the sad pool of losers desperate for a doc review project to start. It's so crazily competitive that people even get picky about stupid shit that doesn't matter. I've had 50% of legal recruiters tell me "you know what would really be better is if your resume was 2 pages instead of 1, because you have good pre-law school experience and you don't have enough detail about it on here." The other 50% of legal recruiters say the exact opposite: "You really need to keep your resume easy to read, and limit it to one page." Each one talks to you as if you are a moron for not doing things the way they see them. The thing is, you know there are law partners out there that are throwing your resume into the trash instantly for not following whatever petty, irrelevant rule they made up.
That's the summary of this industry, 0Ls. It's OCI or bust with a very small number of limited exceptions. Doesn't matter how high-ranking your school is. I've volunteered with people from HYSCCN who struck out. It's even hard to get document review these days without knowing someone that works there or having prior experience. Luckily my roommate already works there, and he gets a $100 bonus for referring me. We're going to blow it on beer when he finally gets paid, because paying off school loans at this point is, in the words of areyouinsane, pretty much like using a Folgers can to purge water from the sinking Titanic. There's a pool of tens (hundreds?) of thousands of un(der)employed JD losers out there begging for whatever job scraps this conniving pyramid will throw down to them, and god help us if we revel in what's left of the carcass for one night.
The reason people on TLS scream at people to retake the LSAT as many times as possible and to not go to law school at all isn't because this is some sort of hazing ritual to newcomers. It's because we're mostly all pretty angry at ourselves for being as naive as you are at some point for trying to enter this corrupt gutter of an industry--and then getting trapped by our debt loads and the fact that non-law employers are scared to hire a JD. You have no idea just how ghetto and cut-rate most of these jobs are--if you're even lucky enough to get a job. And even the Biglaw jobs are mostly soul-draining jobs with long hours and insane bosses where the pressure to perform and eventually bring in clients never abates. The fact that so many people quit these places despite the high pay should tell you something--especially when the exit options aren't nearly as lucrative. Well, at least you can't say you haven't been warned.