J.D. but no Job - Alternative Routes to use that J.D.

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Capitol_Idea
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J.D. but no Job - Alternative Routes to use that J.D.

Postby Capitol_Idea » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:53 am

One thing I thought might be useful is to get a thread going of job alternatives for people who can't get past the Vale but need to, y'know, eat. The Vale seems to be for people who are still going for full-time legal employment in some vein - maybe something for after that dream is shattered by our awful, awful market.

NOTE: This should NOT BE a 'hey 0L's - look at all the fun crap you can do with your versatile degree!' thing - that is so damn stupid it hurts my teeth. My thought is just that I and some other evening student colleagues of mine have experience outside of law that might serve as possible exit opportunities for people struggling in and past the Vale. Hopefully others who have exited the law, worked in or around these other jobs, or successfully managed to pick up the pieces of their shattered J.D dreams can opine and help some peeps out.

Electronic Discovery Consultant

What: Managing electronic discovery cases - helping with strategy and implementation on collection, processing, review, and production of data in large litigation cases.
Where: Major markets, also some random-ass locations like WV and Miami
Who: Consulting firms (Huron, FTI, Clearwell) and Big/Medium Law Firms (as project attorneys)
Pay: On the consulting firm side - ~60-70K starting out, with high billable and discretionary bonuses depending on the company/market. After a couple years you're looking close to 6 figures, and definitely that much if you break into management (which is not as hard as making partner by a looooooong shot)
Hours: Anywhere from 45/wk to 80+ - depends on the project and your experience

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crazycanuck
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Re: J.D. but no Job - Alternative Routes to use that J.D.

Postby crazycanuck » Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:29 pm

I recently hired a new JD grad to be part of the risk management program. The person will be doing risk analysis, fraud assessments, control design assessments, control framework maintenance etc. I am doing all of the training with the person and I think she will be a solid fit for te group. I know a number of JDs who do this kind of work.

Pay to start learning is probably low, 40-50kish for the first year (training required) but will increase quickly (most i know are making around 100k after 3ish years) as they become more autonomous. Risk managers can make a lot of money, and if they really get an understanding of data analytics they can command whatever they want. The boards I report to and serve on are constantly discussing data analytics an there's few professionals who have much experience or understanding of the power of it (including me). Risk management is a massive growth industry, and is becoming extremely important to organizations.

Data analytics is basically moneyball for organizations. It doesn't require a tech background.

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graphia
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Re: J.D. but no Job - Alternative Routes to use that J.D.

Postby graphia » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:36 pm

Thanks for starting this thread; more information on this subject would be an extremely useful resource.

Crazycanuck: That job sounds like it might be better aligned with my strengths than practicing law, but my general knowledge of what industries are out there is pretty limited. Could you recommend any resources I could check out to get a decent understanding of the subject matter and what organizations to target coming from CCN with a worthless undergrad?

My contribution: look at getting commissioned in the military, either as JAG or a line officer. Disclaimer: I have enlisted military experience, but no commissioned experience. This is largely secondhand information from folks I've worked with or research I did when I was considering this career path.

What: JAG Corps (military lawyers) or line officer (basically everyone but legal/medical/religious officers). You don't need a J.D. to be a line officer, but it won't hurt. Many officer jobs focus more on leading people than specialized/technical knowledge. For example, a junior communications officer won't likely be troubleshooting equipment, and often won't have any technical knowledge of the system itself. If you want to pursue federal law enforcement, a commission in the Army CID, Air Force OSI, etc. may be a good stepping stone. Line officers also include pilots. Contrary to popular belief, every branch of the military has some sort of pilots; although I don't think the Army flies many fixed wing aircraft.

http://www.airforceots.com, http://www.armyocs.com, and http://www.navyocs.com are fantastic resources. I think you have to create an account for full access to the forums, but it's worth the effort. Forum members include officers from all stages of their careers. This means the forums contain a wealth of knowledge, but also that you may need to adjust how you speak to the people there. Try to be more respectful than the average TLS poster. If you ever commission, these folks could be your boss/mentor. If you don't, they're using their valuable time to help you make an informed choice, so please stay humble.

Where: Global. Although I've heard JAG applicants enter their contract knowing where they'll initially be stationed, the military will move you around every couple of years. They try to take your preferences in account when it's convenient, but at the end of the day where you're living will be determined by the needs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Corps, etc.

Who: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. A friend summed it up for me: "join the Army or Navy if you want to be in the military, join the Air Force if you want to be in a corporation, and join the Marine Corps if you want to be in a cult." This is tongue-in-cheek, but not far from the truth. Each branch has their own mission, culture, history etc.; and individual jobs within a branch may also have drastically different cultures. And Marines, even those in a non-combat MOS are usually at least a little bit bat-shit insane. I mean that in the best possible way.

Pay: Not close to biglaw, but higher than it looks at first blush. JAG will start at O-2 in all but the Marine Corps, and line officers will generally start at O-1. Don't just look at the base pay, also consider non-taxable allowances that offset the cost of food, housing, and living in an expensive region. This calculator does a good job of considering the factors that people tend to overlook: http://militarypay.defense.gov/mpcalcs/Calculators/RMC.aspx.

From what I've been told, retiring after 20 years of service as an O-5 (Lieutenant Colonel) is fairly typical if you're good at your job. Further advancement may require luck, skill at navigating organizational politics, or some combination of the two. After 20 years of service, you can retire and continue to collect approximately* 50% of your base pay for the rest of your life; regardless of whether you find another job. For an O-5 with 20 years time in service, this comes out to just about $4k per month before taxes in 2015 dollars. I believe commissioned officer promotions have somewhat of an "up or out" system, but I don't have the knowledge to speak on that subject.

Hours: Varies greatly between branches, career fields, and different assignments in the same career field. Can be anywhere from 40 hrs/wk at a cushy assignment in garrison to 84 hours on some deployments.

Family: Moving every few years to locations you can't always control may hurt your significant other's career. They need to: (1) accept that your career may have to come first, (2) pursue a career that is geographically flexible, entrepreneurial, allows telecommuting, etc., or (3) commit to a long-distance relationship. Also consider the effect moving and deployments may have on your kids.
Last edited by graphia on Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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crazycanuck
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Re: J.D. but no Job - Alternative Routes to use that J.D.

Postby crazycanuck » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:15 pm

graphia wrote:
Crazycanuck: That job sounds like it might be better aligned with my strengths than practicing law, but my general knowledge of what industries are out there is pretty limited. Could you recommend any resources I could check out to get a decent understanding of the subject matter and what organizations to target coming from CCN with a worthless undergrad?


Organizations to target: pretty much all mid to large organizations. Large orgs will have a more established risk function. Also the big 4 generally have consulting positions aimed specifically at risk management. A spot with the big 4 is probably the best place to start getting experience in risk management. I expect that the big 4 recruit from CCN. Mid size orgs are mostly still in their infancy with it. Boards are generally really hot to trot over risk and privacy right now with all the stories of banks getting hacked, fraud, etc. it's a huge part of just about every board meeting. The CFO gets grilled about the risk management program.

Resources: there isn't one big established organization yet, there's a bunch of them right now. the institute of internal auditors is a good website to start looking at, and get involved with. There is also COSO. The institute of risk management is probably one of the bigger ones. The global association of risk professionals is also pretty big. Start peaking around those sites. A risk management designation is pretty easy to obtain and will signal a real interest in it. Look into designations like the CRM designation (certified risk manager) or CRA (certified risk analyst) They are probably doable during law school or in the summer.

Risk analysis and data analytics right now is about as cutting edge as you get in most organizations as it's just starting to become a really big deal and there isn't really established prescedent so you have to just figure it out as you go. It can be a lot of fun.

I'm happy to answer questions. I will provide more analysis when I get home tonight. I hate making long posts on my iPhone.

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Re: J.D. but no Job - Alternative Routes to use that J.D.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:58 pm

Thanks for starting this thread. I'm below median at a T14 and starting to look beyond legal jobs.

What about HR positions? Do employers see someone with a J.D. as overqualified? I'm K-JD, liberal arts undergrad degree (basic state university), public interest background, love working with people.

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crazycanuck
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Re: J.D. but no Job - Alternative Routes to use that J.D.

Postby crazycanuck » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for starting this thread. I'm below median at a T14 and starting to look beyond legal jobs.

What about HR positions? Do employers see someone with a J.D. as overqualified? I'm K-JD, liberal arts undergrad degree (basic state university), public interest background, love working with people.

A lot of the issues you will run into is that you are in no mans land. You may be seen as someone who is over qualified/flight risk/too expensive etc and not get the entry level position, and you will not have the experience to get those jobs requiring experience.look into the HR designations like the CHRP, enrolment or acquisition of a designation will show commitment and will provide networking opportunities. There are also Hr consulting (most consulting firms have this) that could help get your foot in the door. I expect You will have to start at the very bottom rung as an HR assistant or something. Pay probably be like 35-40k. There may be a HR forum, website, or association you should ask about this.

I don't know anyone in HR with a JD, so I don't know how helpful it is. It seems like a lot of HR is navigating legal issues so I suppose you may be able to use it some capacity.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: J.D. but no Job - Alternative Routes to use that J.D.

Postby Capitol_Idea » Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for starting this thread. I'm below median at a T14 and starting to look beyond legal jobs.

What about HR positions? Do employers see someone with a J.D. as overqualified? I'm K-JD, liberal arts undergrad degree (basic state university), public interest background, love working with people.


CrazyCanuck's right - a lot of HR tends to pull from other areas. For instance, a lot of business psychology Master's and Ph.D's - and those degrees are targeted towards complementary areas. One exception I've come across, however, are business which have union-represented employees. Unions often involve contract-related frictions, meaning there must be HR people who are able to interpret contracts and understand the interplay between legal and business considerations. I've seen some HR people in this context come from law backgrounds.

By and large, outside of law practice, you need to be able to show that your background, skills, or degree provide some value add to the organization. It's just too hard to do that with a J.D. and no experience - I wouldn't count on being able to leverage it to any significant degree.




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