JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

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AReasonableMan
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby AReasonableMan » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:29 pm

JCougar wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:I'm not making that argument, just pointing out. Elsewhere, I showed you there's currently a negative correlation between big law jobs and small firm jobs in te ABA link. Obviously if total hiring is down but big law hiring is up then everything other than big law is collectively even worse than you suggested. Just because I'm picking out something you probably should have clarified doesn't mean I disagree with you.


Why should I have clarified something that is merely speculation? If everyone was required to clarify every possible speculation about every possible tangent to what they were saying, communication would be nearly impossible.

If anything, the anecdotal evidence is telling us that clients are getting more and more picky about the rote busywork that gets billed to first- and second-year associates, etc. This would suggest that paralegals would be given more of this kind of work if possible (making binders, etc.)--rather than the other way around.

Nah big law hiring is actually up, and the data supports that. I think what we're seeing is businesses are all doing less wasteful spending. Notice how airlines don't comp you when they mess up like they used to? Many times engaging a lawyer isn't necessary, and you can get someone much cheaper to do the same thing. Also most of what a lawyer would do in many conflicts can be googled (and many lawyers will use google). You don't necessarily need a law degree to find the relevant statute for your situation. For example, if two friends are starting some tiny corporation with 4 employees they probably won't hire the corner store attorney when they could just use google and find the same forms, etc. Common sense would say only truly confusing and "oh shit" situations require an attorney.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:02 pm

even if biglaw hiring is up and the rest of the legal field is down, that's still a concern. most people leave biglaw. if the corner store attorney can no longer do simple business incorporations, then thats still a problem for ALL lawyers. 10 years ago, the 9 out of 10 biglaw refugees, one of those guys is going to open up his corner store and make money from simple business incorporations. when he can't do this anymore, he may enter the divorce field like another of the 9 did and start his solo practice there. now, the 2 have to compete against each other and split the market. or, maybe the guy decides he has to go in house now. that just means he takes the in house job instead of someone else. the fact there are fewer jobs (regardless of increased biglaw hiring) is a major concern in measuring the health of a field.

even with biglaw hiring up since 2008, you should still be comparing the job growth to other sectors' job growth. the legal industry is still struggling. compared with other sectors, you'd be a fool to pursue the legal industry if you are choosing what to do with your life.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:51 pm

Segments of biglaw (i.e., the tippy top firms and certain practice areas) are doing very well. Others are not doing well. From what I can tell, any increase in biglaw headcount is solely a result of biglaw firms' hesitancy to fire attorneys in slow practice areas and inability to shift resources from slow practice areas to busier ones (and, as a result, increased hiring for busy practice areas). Increases in PPP in 2014 were almost entirely due to cost cutting and rate increases, not higher aggregate demand for legal work.

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lacrossebrother
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby lacrossebrother » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:39 pm

Shouldn't legal hiring, in general, lag behind a general recovery? (in response to johann who is saying we should compare legal industry growth with other growth)

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JohannDeMann
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:47 pm

but lag 5 years? i dont know about that. it makes sense the legal industry is dying because our work can be done by computers. govt hiring of attorneys is still way down and will probably never come back.

AReasonableMan
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby AReasonableMan » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:22 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:even if biglaw hiring is up and the rest of the legal field is down, that's still a concern. most people leave biglaw. if the corner store attorney can no longer do simple business incorporations, then thats still a problem for ALL lawyers.

good point.

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JCougar
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:32 pm

15 styx wrote:It would be ideal if there was a 1:1 ratio between openings and candidates but I do not see how this is conceivable with 200 law schools pumping out JDs. For those who exited OCI with a solid job, life is all rainbows but as my recently terminated friend is discovering, trying to rebound into a comparable position is challenging.


Yeah, this is an oft-overlooked thing. Some biglaw castoffs lateral up, lateral over, or lateral into midlaw.

But because Biglaw has such a big pyramid structure, there's a ton of cast-offs. I mean, in some of the NYC firms, like 1 out of 50 will make partner. You're going to be competing with the other 49 people with "Cravath" on your resume for that midlaw/in-house lateral position and I doubt there are enough of those to go around.

I have no idea what the nationwide rate is for biglaw alumni actually sticking around and making partner. It seems a lot more common in mid-sized cities. But NYC/Chicago/SF/LA/DC, etc., I'd have to guess less than 10% on the high end.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:38 pm

Yeah definitely less than 10% for all major cities. The non-equity partner on here said 15% chance of making equity partner and he gave himself a better than average chance, and he had already made it 7-8 years and is the lower level partner. I think 10% is generous. 2-5% is prolly about right with 5% being the high end.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby crazycanuck » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:45 pm

twenty wrote:
JCougar wrote:I don't know what the exact stats are, but 15% unemployment has to put JD grads somewhere in the range between "I got my GED at age 21" and "some community college."


Appreciating that this may be exaggeration and I'm getting wooshed a bit, I keep seeing this sentiment of "you're actually even less employable as a JD" and I don't fully understand it. Aren't the same boomers that tell people they can do anything with a JD the boomers that are looking to fill non-JD required positions in the rest of the work force? I have some degree of difficulty imagining an employer going "well, we would have hired you if you'd just been a homeless liberal arts grad, but since you went to law school, we're not going to."


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.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:17 pm

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
2006 metrics:
NYC Biglaw market rate: $160k
CLS tuition: $38k

2015 metrics:
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.
Last edited by JCougar on Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:46 am, edited 4 times in total.

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UVAIce
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby UVAIce » Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:41 pm

This is all true enough to make me have another drink tonight. Law is such a hit or miss affair; if you don't make it into some kind of a feeder position right out of the gate you are essentially screwed. If you are one of the lucky ones - and at this point I really see it as being "lucky"- then you're probably set barring another 2008 or some kind of a personal melt down in your life or firm.

Honestly, if you're smart enough to pass the bar exam then you're probably smart enough to do any number of careers that are in seriously high demand at the moment. Learn to code. Stop being afraid of numbers. Learn a trade. I think my outcome out of law school is fairly good and I still kick myself sometimes for not following my own advice.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:51 pm

UVAIce wrote:This is all true enough to make me have another drink tonight. Law is such a hit or miss affair; if you don't make it into some kind of a feeder position right out of the gate you are essentially screwed. If you are one of the lucky ones - and at this point I really see it as being "lucky"- then you're probably set barring another 2008 or some kind of a personal melt down in your life or firm.

It's not really luck though. There's a little luck involved, to be sure, but most 0L's worrying about the "1 out of 7 get real jobs" stuff can skip past 80% or more of their competition by simply retaking the LSAT. Most people who go to law school shouldn't, but in a large portion of those cases it's simply because they are unable or unwilling to get an acceptable LSAT score.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby suboxoneman » Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:29 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
UVAIce wrote:This is all true enough to make me have another drink tonight. Law is such a hit or miss affair; if you don't make it into some kind of a feeder position right out of the gate you are essentially screwed. If you are one of the lucky ones - and at this point I really see it as being "lucky"- then you're probably set barring another 2008 or some kind of a personal melt down in your life or firm.

It's not really luck though. There's a little luck involved, to be sure, but most 0L's worrying about the "1 out of 7 get real jobs" stuff can skip past 80% or more of their competition by simply retaking the LSAT. Most people who go to law school shouldn't, but in a large portion of those cases it's simply because they are unable or unwilling to get an acceptable LSAT score.


Yes, going to Chicago or Columbia or whatever does give you a very very high percentage chance to get a real legal job after law school. But what about 5 years later?

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby BiglawAssociate » Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:06 am

UVAIce wrote:This is all true enough to make me have another drink tonight. Law is such a hit or miss affair; if you don't make it into some kind of a feeder position right out of the gate you are essentially screwed. If you are one of the lucky ones - and at this point I really see it as being "lucky"- then you're probably set barring another 2008 or some kind of a personal melt down in your life or firm.

Honestly, if you're smart enough to pass the bar exam then you're probably smart enough to do any number of careers that are in seriously high demand at the moment. Learn to code. Stop being afraid of numbers. Learn a trade. I think my outcome out of law school is fairly good and I still kick myself sometimes for not following my own advice.


Wow, aren't you still a 3L? Is it because you saw your loan amount?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:01 am

suboxoneman wrote:Yes, going to Chicago or Columbia or whatever does give you a very very high percentage chance to get a real legal job after law school. But what about 5 years later?

Probably the same chance as Cooley grads five years out if I had to guess. Why don't you tell me Doc?

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:53 am

A known but underrated path is the two years volunteering at a PSLF job and scoring an entry level position upon graduation. It's hard to get the exact location you want, but I dont know a single person from my class who went this route and didn't get a job somewhere. You have to be geographically flexible.

Also cougar makes it sound like every firm job that is not "Biglaw" is "shit law." Many states in our country do not even have Biglaw... So any firm job is, just a job at a law firm. I know people doing really well at small firms. Most salaries start at 50-60k and the experience is completely different than couger describes. They get hands on experience right away. Even if you took a 30-40k salary (jobs that surely exist, though I've never seen a posting for this low amount), you should still be able to get good experience.

Overall, life is tough, and law is a very hard field to break into because a lot of people want to be lawyers. If you begin to view everything as some giant scam or conspiracy outside of your control, you won't partake in the constant self evaluation and critique that is required for success in a challenging environment. Also, your bitterness will come off in an interview no matter how hard you try to conceal it. All in all, hopeless worldview = hopelessness.

I don't write this as a response to anyone who has posted in this thread, I write this for people who are struggling and considering adopting cougars hopeless and cynical view. I've been there myself. But my advice is keep fighting and never give up.

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UVAIce
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby UVAIce » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:05 am

BiglawAssociate wrote:
UVAIce wrote:This is all true enough to make me have another drink tonight. Law is such a hit or miss affair; if you don't make it into some kind of a feeder position right out of the gate you are essentially screwed. If you are one of the lucky ones - and at this point I really see it as being "lucky"- then you're probably set barring another 2008 or some kind of a personal melt down in your life or firm.

Honestly, if you're smart enough to pass the bar exam then you're probably smart enough to do any number of careers that are in seriously high demand at the moment. Learn to code. Stop being afraid of numbers. Learn a trade. I think my outcome out of law school is fairly good and I still kick myself sometimes for not following my own advice.


Wow, aren't you still a 3L? Is it because you saw your loan amount?


I actually have a significantly smaller debt load than most people coming out of UVA or any other law school for that matter. In the last three years I just had a large flip in interests from government to business/industry. My wife is also a citizen of another country and we're not entirely certain that we want to stay in the United States the rest of our lives, and given my current practice area I'm not entirely certain how I could continue my career in this other country. It's not that we want to live outside of the United States permanently, but it would be fun to live there for a few years.

I'm also one of those persons who has more interests than is good for them. I program a little on the side. I think finance is interesting: I do a lot of trading and that will probably have to stop once I'm a lawyer. Carpentry is kind of cool. I like doing dangerous things. And the list goes on. So there is a little heartbreak in knowing that in one way or another I'm not going to do X as a career.

Honestly, I could be singing a different tune in a few years. The practice group I'm headed to is a great group of people and I really like the general firm culture as well. But I also know a lot of people that have been burned by becoming a lawyer. Admittedly, a lot of those people are not the folks I went to school with. I may also be a bit fatalistic at times.

Edit: I feel stupid saying this now, but in writing this post I became more excited to start working again. More than anything, I may be burnt out a bit by academics and politics in general.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby UVAIce » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:11 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
suboxoneman wrote:Yes, going to Chicago or Columbia or whatever does give you a very very high percentage chance to get a real legal job after law school. But what about 5 years later?

Probably the same chance as Cooley grads five years out if I had to guess. Why don't you tell me Doc?


Yeah, I'm with Tiago on this one. You're probably not going to have 100% success, but I think the exit options are pretty good for people outside of 2008. Thinking that the future legal market is going to be like the legal market of 2008-2009 is probably going to lead you to some erroneous conclusions. I'm not trying to pump sunshine at you, but I think it's fairly conservative to say that the majority of Chicago and Columbia grads who were successful out of the gate will continue to be successful, especially when compared to the average American.

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r1tlv50
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby r1tlv50 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:46 am

JCougar wrote:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/natalie-gregg/mamas-dont-let-your-babie_2_b_6457898.html

For every good legal job out there, there's about 500 desperate JD grads applying--most of which have 5 years + of experience and graduated from T14 schools.


This seems extreme. Most law grads did not go to t14 schools. Are you trying to say that everyone else flames out of the profession and only t14 grads are left fighting over jobs?

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:55 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:A known but underrated path is the two years volunteering at a PSLF job and scoring an entry level position upon graduation. It's hard to get the exact location you want, but I dont know a single person from my class who went this route and didn't get a job somewhere. You have to be geographically flexible.

Also cougar makes it sound like every firm job that is not "Biglaw" is "shit law." Many states in our country do not even have Biglaw... So any firm job is, just a job at a law firm. I know people doing really well at small firms. Most salaries start at 50-60k and the experience is completely different than couger describes. They get hands on experience right away. Even if you took a 30-40k salary (jobs that surely exist, though I've never seen a posting for this low amount), you should still be able to get good experience.

Overall, life is tough, and law is a very hard field to break into because a lot of people want to be lawyers. If you begin to view everything as some giant scam or conspiracy outside of your control, you won't partake in the constant self evaluation and critique that is required for success in a challenging environment. Also, your bitterness will come off in an interview no matter how hard you try to conceal it. All in all, hopeless worldview = hopelessness.

I don't write this as a response to anyone who has posted in this thread, I write this for people who are struggling and considering adopting cougars hopeless and cynical view. I've been there myself. But my advice is keep fighting and never give up.


Being geographically flexible is all fine and good. I'm "geographically flexible." I've moved twice since law school for unpaid jobs. The problem is, you're virtually useless to smaller firms until you've passed the bar in that jurisdiction. They're not like Biglaw in that they can have someone constantly sign off on your work. You have to hit the ground running, otherwise it's not worth their time to hire you. And many are not going to hire you on the whim that you will pass the bar there (I don't know why firms are so skeptical about this...Bar exams are a lot of work, but most of them are easy as hell to pass if you put in what's required...but they figure "I have a pile of 100 resumes from local attorneys, so why take the risk with someone out of state?"). I've spoken to more than one firm across the country that basically said "we like your resume, but give us a call when you've passed our bar exam." So I could spend $1000 moving across the country, study for three months, spend $1000 to take the bar exam plus study materials, and then when I pass cross my fingers that they'll actually follow through? Is a shitlaw salary worth that risk? All in all, the bar exam is just one additional scam where the 1% can stick their snouts in the money trough that is law students' aspirations. $3000 to watch some online video of a professor blather about something you're never going to use in practice and that you should have learned in school? No thanks...I ordered some used Kaplan books online for like $250 and I did fine. The universal bar exam couldn't come faster.

Also, if you go to a trap school, a lot of smaller markets view you as a flight risk unless you have ties to that state. My school is viewed as too good for its home market, but yet not good enough to place entry level in larger markets, so it's kind of a catch-22. Grads from my school will work for a year or two, get the requisite training, and then flee for better lateral options in bigger cities. The result is that local firms don't trust our new grads at all, so you don't get hired. Believe me, I've begged small firm lawyers to let me work there because I love X city, and they don't buy it. I've lived in too many larger cities in the past and have moved around a lot.

I agree that some small firms actually give you good experience, but these firms rarely hire new grads. They might hire a new associate once every 2-3 years. In the city I'm in right now, the firms in my practice area collectively hire about one person per year. So it could be another 12 months or so before I even get an interview. I've networked with all of them and know all the partners, etc. They all seem to like me, but who knows when they will be able to take someone else on. It usually comes down to if they have someone else quit, which is hard to predict. The smaller firms that do hire fresh grads more frequently are normally shitlaw associate mills where the average associate lasts somewhere between 2 weeks and 6 months, where the partners make dumb mistakes and lose cases, but they don't care because it's all about volume. And putting this work experience on your resume is a signal for future good employers not to take you seriously. The smart thing to do is to start aggressively networking with the good small firms as soon as you start law school and see if you can work part-time during the semester and full-time in the summer so that you get your foot in the door early. I tried this myself, but in retrospect, I don't think I was aggressive enough early on. Also, the local bar pretty much hates my CSO. They advised me not to go through them if I want a local job, and instead contact people with connections to the local TTT.

The whole point though is that even at these small firms, they have like 100 people apply, and there's always going to be someone more "local" that they just trust more. Unfortunately, I don't really have a home market, as I've moved around the country a lot in the last 15 years. The state where I grew up doesn't really view me as "hometown" anymore, and my school's hometown market hates its graduates, who flee to the coasts or Chicago the first chance they get. I've got a couple of Hail Marys left to throw where I'm at right now due to some networking connections I've been working since 1L and due to my connections at my PSLF job. But if something doesn't unfold in the next couple of months, I'll have to re-assess and try and get back into my old industry that I was good at but that I hated, and chalk the last 5 years of loan debt, stress, suicidal thoughts, poverty, cut-rate healthcare, and foregone salary as a huge and monumental loss.

My only solace is that I realize that I am not unique in any way, and this is the bullshit fate of the vast majority of all law graduates.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby rahulg91 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:01 pm

r1tlv50 wrote:
JCougar wrote:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/natalie-gregg/mamas-dont-let-your-babie_2_b_6457898.html

For every good legal job out there, there's about 500 desperate JD grads applying--most of which have 5 years + of experience and graduated from T14 schools.


This seems extreme. Most law grads did not go to t14 schools. Are you trying to say that everyone else flames out of the profession and only t14 grads are left fighting over jobs?


JCougar seems to be dabbling in the hyperbole quite a lot ITT. I also have the feeling that anyone that calls him/her out on this would be labeled as stupid/naive.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby lacrossebrother » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:03 pm

Jcougar is a dope. I've followed him all around this website. He's condescending, stubborn, inarticulate, hyperbolic, and generally, not very bright.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:31 pm

r1tlv50 wrote:This seems extreme. Most law grads did not go to t14 schools. Are you trying to say that everyone else flames out of the profession and only t14 grads are left fighting over jobs?


Most people not from T14s learn pretty quickly that it's a waste of time to apply for the "good" law jobs out there. And there's still thousands of T14 graduates around the country that struck out and are looking for something. Hell, Georgetown alone graduates about 300 of these people per year.

The last job I applied for had over 1,000 applicants, and it didn't even pay six figures.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby smaug » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:47 pm

JCougar has some of the best posts I've seen on TLS in this thread. I wasn't a fan before, but I am now.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby LawsRUs » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:56 pm

Jason Taverner wrote:JCougar has some of the best posts I've seen on TLS in this thread. I wasn't a fan before, but I am now.


confession: Jcoug is one of my fave. he does a good job in scaring people away from the law school scam. keep going dude




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