Gauging Interest (Warning: A bit of rambling)

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Gauging Interest (Warning: A bit of rambling)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:25 pm

I'm very hesitant to throw this out here considering it's essentially a conversation i had with some friends at a bar awhile back, but here goes.

I think the vast majority of us in TLS were fully aware of the state of the legal job market, but took the plunge for one reason or another. I went to a T-20 and most of my close friends ended up doing "ok" to "well" only around 2 years after their graduation. Most had to do a year+ doing borderline free clerkships, internships, fellowships, doc review, etc..., and around the 2 year mark now, most of them seem to have settled down doing one thing or another, but the results are all over the place. Some have found jobs in AM100's, some at mid to small firms, some doing doc review, etc... With the lone exception of Mr. "Cravath" who graduated valedictorian, everyone seems to have stumbled despite their amazing background.

I know guys who were top 25%, but are now working in non-legal sectors with a Masters from London School of Economics, and an Ivy undergrad who after almost 2 years finally found a real gig in a small 8 person firm in Texas. (Not really a friend but last time I talked to him he made it seem like he'd just join the army instead of enduring this crap). These are not anti-social people by any stretch. Most have a sterling background and have hustled nonstop like many here. In fact, most of them were TLS regulars prior to law school.

Just from reading the "Vale of Tears" thread, I'm actually a bit shocked how well everyone's taking it. I mean.. you could smell the depression, but I frankly thought it'd be a whole lot worse given everyone's student loan burden and prospects. Many seem to think 55K would be great. My friend working in "biglaw" just last week told me of that one U.Mich. grad who mass mailed his firm basically begging for a job after doing some temp. work for them, and these stories are fairly routine.

Apologies for the TL/DR... but I'm writing all this in a "stream of consciousness" style. Let me get to the point. I'll try to be as detailed as possible, but obviously am hesitant to reveal too much.

I'm from an island, a US territory. Relative to the other territories in the vicinity, it's comparatively large which isn't saying much, but all the modern amenities are here, since it's actually a fairly big tourist hub for Asia. My family has been here for nearly 30 years and for much of it has run a Gen. Contracting Company. We do a good amount of work relative to our size (10M/year revenue), and obviously, we require several attorneys during the course of our work.

The legal service here in general seems poor... very poor. Both sides of the aisle seem oblivious to grammar and spelling, and have no problem charging you $320/hr while ignoring your phone calls only for you to find out they're on vacation for the next 10 days. Many of their websites have literally never been updated since the 90's. I can't speak of their overall work product, but after speaking to 3 lawyers who I do have respect for, i can quote one, "can't believe half these pieces of shits can even call themselves lawyers." Lawyer Ads proudly proclaim that they're attorneys from a Top 90 Law school (yeah.. i know). It's a bit stereotypical but island attorneys are uh... way more chillax.

Here's the kicker though. Work seems virtually endless if you're competent. Construction companies are a big part of the industry here, and a good portion of the laborers are cyclical coming from outside the country, so immigration attorneys seem to have plenty of work. My family's company probably spends around 50-60K/year just on our immigration attorney. Construction attorneys are impossible to even schedule for without a 2-3 week notice, a divorce attorney of a family member who I'm helping.. yeah 2 weeks and she had to cancel that one too, and the list goes on.

One more thing. The island's wealth is disproportionately held by East Asian communities (Korean, Japanese, Chinese), and there are exactly 2 Korean attorneys (one can't speak English... like barely, and the other has poor if not barely passable Korean), and 1 Japanese speaking attorney on-island. My Korean's frankly excellent, and while my Japanese is super rusty, with half a year of hardcore studying I should be back to conversational. For an immigrant community, this is actually a huge deal for their attorney... uh... to be able to communicate. I have deep ties to the community here given I've grown up here, and my family, while not famous, is respectable.

Here's the thing. While confident of my business skills, and believing my general plan is sound, I am not at all confident in my legal skills. Frankly, I wasn't a great student in law school, and nothing points to me having a talent for legal analysis per se. I've actually had 3 of my friends from law school ask me what my thoughts are about partnering up to go private practice back home considering the $ amt. I gave as a reasonable income, but I hesitated because well, i thought they could do better than come back to my small island. Since then, one has gone on to be an associate at Locke Lord, the other, in-house in Korea, and the other has found a solid associate position at mid-sized firm in LA, so who can say what they value more, the prestige or $$$.. Haven't spoken to them about this recently. In fact, I'm pretty sure they think I won't be a lawyer ever.

Obviously, I have more substantive data points than this rambling to strengthen my point, but I was just wondering if someone were to give you access to a market where you could make around 300K+/year probably within 3 years, but it would require you to get on a plane, and go halfway around the world, would you do it? I'd be able to come up with the initial startup costs and then some.. around 50K+?

Naturally, this is just a random thought that I wanted to gauge the community reaction too. I've heard reactions irl like "i dunno, it's still a risk," to "r u kidding me? Eat at Westin, and go jetski''ing during lunchtime?" I'm just trying to gauge relative interest if such a proposition were given to you.

I know this all sounds super-weird, and it is, so just treat it like a quirky story if you want. Let's just assume however, chance of success, 250K minimum within 3-4 years is around 80%+ just for the sake of argument and this is fairly conservative imho. Naturally, you can make significantly more than this, and many i personally know do.

This is all up in the air of course, but I think it's a buyer's market for legal talent, and even the 1L's and 2L's I've spoken to in T20's seem surprisingly enthusiastic. I dunno why but I thought they'd think it was beneath them or something.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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