Dealing with Family

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Dealing with Family

Postby Fark-o-vision » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:27 pm

This might not belong here in this particular forum, so I apologize in advance. 0L who is looking for advice from those of you who may have family working in the legal profession. Myself, I've got a few family members spread over BOTH SIDES of the tree who work in the profession, most of whom insist I'll "be okay" despite the current state of legal employment. They're really encouraging me to go, but I'm hesitant because economic markers seem to indicate we could be heading into another bad couple of hiring cycles. I'm not all doom and gloom, I think things will eventually get better--much better--but bad years in bad economies certainly happen and I'd hate to get caught in that shit storm without a way out. When I talk to family about this they just push the old "Don't get worked up about it--a legal education is a valuable thing" type talk. I'd like to discuss the possibility of working with them after school, but a few things stand in the way:
1) It's a bit awkward, right? I mean, if they don't mention it then it probably isn't something they want me to think is a possibility.
2) I'd prefer not to do it. I'm uncomfortable with the concept of getting by on your family name, but a job is better than no job, regardless of how you got it, right? Still, if another opportunity did present itself, even one less lucrative, I think I'd like to take that out. I worry, though, that if I do manage to set something up with a family member it would become something of an expectation and they might feel betrayed if I sought other employment.
3) Some of these people I really never was all that close to, most of them I didn't know very well before I decided to go to law school. Since I made the decision, though, they seem to have taken an interest.

Anyway, I'm not an economist, so don't blast whatever my reading of the news may be (I have no stake in it, so if you think the economy is going to be sunshine I'll just pray you're right) and I'm not really looking to debate the merits of going to law school itself. I only included that bit to explain why this is even an issue for me. Anyone else have family in law? How did you approach this issue, or did you think better of it?

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Re: Dealing with Family

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:41 pm

As someone who has no family members who are lawyers or know lawyers (other than criminal or divorce lawyers) I'd say.

1) Read the OCI threads on this board. Realize how hard it is right now even for students coming from top schools. Getting a full-time legal job out of law school was always a chancy proposition and the good paying jobs were restricted to a small group of students. That group has only grown smaller.

2) Depending on what kind of law your family members practice, they may be out of touch with the reality of the job market for new grads. If they are biglawyers, they might have some insight into whether the model is changing or not. But there's a strong possibility legal hiring will never bounce back to what it once was. Meanwhile law schools are not making their students any more attractive to firms by giving them more practical skills.

3) I commend you for not wanting to piggyback off the success of your family members. But might I suggest working for them for a few years if possible as a paralegal? That way you can see what lawyers really do. You'll also know a little more about what field they specialize in and whether you want to take a job with them after graduation.

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Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: Dealing with Family

Postby Fark-o-vision » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:53 pm

Because those are valid points, I thought I'd clear up a few things:

I know what they do, although I'd admit I don't have the experience to know what it is like doing it. None of them are biglaw, but one did go that route early in his career. They're all successful, even the ones who no longer practice, and are in positions of influence/power. I'm not sure if you would call them boutique firms, but they certainly have that feel (i.e. high pay and highly specialized work in a small to mid-sized firm setting). I'm not sure working under them in any capacity could teach me what the life of a young lawyer is like. If anything, their work paints an incredibly rosy picture compared to the slices of life we get on these forums.

I guess it really applies to everyone and all I'm really asking is, how inappropriate would it be to approach them about the possibility of work and is it less inappropriate in different circumstances? If I did approach them, I'd probably just bring up the possibility of interning over the summer or something, but even that feels awkward. I'm wondering if anyone has been in a similar place (even if your relative worked in another industry).

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