Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

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ManLaw
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Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby ManLaw » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:13 am

I was hoping to get predictions/advice for my situation:

I'm a UCLA law graduate and was unsuccessful on the July 2010 CA bar exam. I graduated with about a 2.6-2.7 GPA and no job lined up. I have since moved home with the parents in Minnesota. I didn't retake the exam in February, and just tonight I decided to register for the July CA Bar Exam again, because a 145 scaled score on the MBE allows me to waive in to MN. I thought it would be good to be able to search for jobs in two different markets.

But now I am having second thoughts -- it's so hard to find work in CA right now, government jobs are all on hiring freezes, and I'm thinking I should have just signed up for the 2-day MN bar that has a reputation for being easy and just focus on Minnesota. There's so many unknowns, but I keep visualizing that finding employment in CA is going to be tough for someone in my position and my current residence puts me at a disadvantage from getting out to weird bar association events to network. Taking the test the first time was such a huge pain in my ass that it's already giving me a slight headache after registering for the exam tonight. It's tougher when there's no guarantee of a job in CA right away and the prospect of ending up in MN anyways. Additionally I don't see myself as being a lawyer for my entire life, and I know that eventually when I have Bar results and legal employment some place I will be doing my best to transition out of the profession into business.

Any thoughts are appreciated. I have been agonizing over this decision the entire months of March and April, and just registered for CA bar exam today to avoid a $250 late fee. :roll: :D

Tamponymous
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby Tamponymous » Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:49 pm

I have no idea how to help you, but I wish you luck OP. Sounds like a tough situation.

dru617
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby dru617 » Sun May 01, 2011 12:28 pm

I don't know what sort of work you're hoping for, but Minneapolis biglaw sounds like it will almost certainly be out of the question for you. They have their pick of the summas from the local schools and generally only reach outside that for T14 students. As for mid-small law or public interest, I really couldn't say. But MN is such a tiny market generally and if you're really open to the entire state of Cali, you might have a better shot of finding something out there. The wider net the better.

Also, since you seem already looking to get out of the legal profession as soon as you get into it, why not just skip the bar exam/lawyer thing completely? Your profile sounds like a tough sell for an attorney position, but a JD will give you a leg up for many non-lawyer corporate jobs. The Twin Cities has plenty of fortune 500 businesses - why don't you consider applying for compliance, risk management, banking type jobs? I used to work at a big bank and we had tons of JDs who never practiced yet had pretty sweet, low-stress, 9-5 gigs.

Good luck.

ManLaw
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby ManLaw » Sun May 01, 2011 6:04 pm

dru617 wrote:I don't know what sort of work you're hoping for, but Minneapolis biglaw sounds like it will almost certainly be out of the question for you. They have their pick of the summas from the local schools and generally only reach outside that for T14 students. As for mid-small law or public interest, I really couldn't say. But MN is such a tiny market generally and if you're really open to the entire state of Cali, you might have a better shot of finding something out there. The wider net the better.

Also, since you seem already looking to get out of the legal profession as soon as you get into it, why not just skip the bar exam/lawyer thing completely? Your profile sounds like a tough sell for an attorney position, but a JD will give you a leg up for many non-lawyer corporate jobs. The Twin Cities has plenty of fortune 500 businesses - why don't you consider applying for compliance, risk management, banking type jobs? I used to work at a big bank and we had tons of JDs who never practiced yet had pretty sweet, low-stress, 9-5 gigs.

Good luck.


Thanks for your input. In Minnesota or CA I would be hoping for a mid/small firm that does criminal, civil litigation, or entertainment. I originally thought to just apply to business type jobs, but I heard there are issues with coming out of law school and not being licensed any place and applying. Were your coworkers licensed? I suppose also the "what if" factor of not retaking the exam eats at me as well and that's why I haven't totally aborted yet. I like your point about the wide net. The hassle of flying back to CA, then flying home to MN, then looking for a job in CA feels like a more difficult dynamic for networking/interviews than being present in MN and contacting folks around town to me...my GPA wasn't stellar but I did moot court, mock trial, etc and I'd try to play that up.

dru617
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby dru617 » Sun May 01, 2011 6:16 pm

Nope, I'm pretty sure none of my co-workers had any licenses, legal or otherwise. I know of at least one who definitely, kind of like you, failed the bar and simply began a successful career related to corporate securities. I'm not saying it's a slam dunk, just that it's definitely possible and as you apply for jobs wherever, definitely apply to non-JD jobs as well with banks, finance companies, all other sorts of businesses.

ManLaw
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby ManLaw » Sun May 01, 2011 7:30 pm

Thanks, that's something to think about. I was incorrect and my gpa was actually 2.8. Do you know how MN employers compare a 2.8 from UCLA vs like a 3.3 from Hamline/WM/St. Thomas?

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minnbills
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby minnbills » Sun May 01, 2011 8:30 pm

Try looking for corporate positions in compliance- to echo an earlier post. Lots of big companies out here, and with most of them in healthcare, there are probably opportunities in compliance if the price is right.

ManLaw
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby ManLaw » Mon May 02, 2011 2:29 am

minnbills wrote:Try looking for corporate positions in compliance- to echo an earlier post. Lots of big companies out here, and with most of them in healthcare, there are probably opportunities in compliance if the price is right.


Thanks! What would be considered the right price? When applying outside of the law I have no idea what a J.D. can even expect salary wise in a business setting.

dru617
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby dru617 » Mon May 02, 2011 5:17 pm

I would say you're realistically looking at $40-$60k starting in a non-lawyer entry level corporate job. But with non-lawyer corporate jobs (to a great extent unlike lockstep law jobs) its all about showing initiative and talent once you're in the door. Sky is the limit for transfer or promotion.

As far as GPAs, I wouldn't include a GPA on your resume if you apply to non-lawyer jobs unless they ask for it. Outside of entry level law jobs, no one in business really cares about someone's GPA. at least not from what i've ever experienced.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon May 02, 2011 5:24 pm

OP: Did you take a bar review course to prepare for your first try in California ?

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dood
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby dood » Mon May 02, 2011 5:33 pm

OP: i used to live with a SMU grad in LA. he took the CA bar 3 times before passing. good luck.

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minnbills
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby minnbills » Mon May 02, 2011 5:52 pm

ManLaw wrote:
minnbills wrote:Try looking for corporate positions in compliance- to echo an earlier post. Lots of big companies out here, and with most of them in healthcare, there are probably opportunities in compliance if the price is right.


Thanks! What would be considered the right price? When applying outside of the law I have no idea what a J.D. can even expect salary wise in a business setting.


Like one of the earlier posters said: an entry-level corporate salary of 40-60k is likely. From what I understand, it's also important to position yourself as someone who's genuinely interested and motivated to do compliance type work.

In other words, you don't want them to think you're applying for that position because you don't know what else to do. I'm not sure how you could accomplish this though.

EDIT: like the earlier poster said, one of the major benefits to working for a corporation is the upward mobility. Plus it could help you transition to a pure management role (as my aunt has done.)

ManLaw
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Re: Will new, unemployed graduates have better luck in MN or CA?

Postby ManLaw » Tue May 03, 2011 12:37 am

Thanks for the great responses everyone, you guys have some cool information about other options. I randomly received a call from a Target recruiter to interview for some management type position and I registered for the MN bar exam on the same day. Awkward. And yes, I did take Barbri in CA but I must admit I had my distractions in LA and didn't complete all the assignments like I should have.




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