Just how bad is the legal job market really?

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jtgain
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Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby jtgain » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:44 pm

I've heard opinions that range the gamut from "There are no legal jobs" to "Just apply yourself and you will be fine".

Now, I know that a JD isn't a ticket to Scrooge McDuck-like riches, but what is the Straight Dope on the market? Will I be holding a worthless piece of paper, or are the people complaining just your typical whiners who expect a great job to fall out of the sky and hit them on the head?

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john titor
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby john titor » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:49 pm

obviously it depends on where you go to school and how well you do.

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LawandOrder
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby LawandOrder » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:01 pm

jtgain wrote:I've heard opinions that range the gamut from "There are no legal jobs" to "Just apply yourself and you will be fine".

Now, I know that a JD isn't a ticket to Scrooge McDuck-like riches, but what is the Straight Dope on the market? Will I be holding a worthless piece of paper, or are the people complaining just your typical whiners who expect a great job to fall out of the sky and hit them on the head?


It's somewhere in between these extremes, and my money is on more toward the "worthless piece of paper" end of the spectrum.

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rayiner
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby rayiner » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:11 pm

A lot of people in C/O 2011 from Columbia down will have trouble repaying their loans comfortably. For future classes, who knows? Bit better maybe, but potentially worse if the current "recovery" goes like 2003 and there is a second collapse before permanent recovery.

hank44
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby hank44 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:18 pm

rayiner wrote:A lot of people in C/O 2011 from Columbia down will have trouble repaying their loans comfortably.



I'm sorry but this kind of arbitrary forcasting is inaccurate, if not plain silly. Granted, those attending less than amazing schools are having and will continue to have some trouble - especially those that aren't at the top of their respective classes. BUT, to think that somehow strong students at schools ranked lower than Columbia will have trouble repaying loans because of poor job prospects, I think, is crazy.

Attending a moderately (read, average or just below average) priced school and doing well will surely still afford you SOME decent job prospects - maybe not 160k, but then again that isnt decent, that is far, far beyond decent. The point is, just like anything else, getting the degree is only half the battle. I happen to think too many people go to 4 year colleges these days, but that doesnt mean Id say a college degree is worthless. You have to distinguish yourself.

Plus, your profile says you're class of 2012 at Northwestern? I would say thats awesome and congrats - but you either think you're screwed or that things will just be so much better for your class and not the one a year before?
Last edited by hank44 on Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rayiner
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby rayiner » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:48 pm

hank44 wrote:
rayiner wrote:A lot of people in C/O 2011 from Columbia down will have trouble repaying their loans comfortably.



I'm sorry but this kind of arbitrary forcasting is inaccurate, if not plain silly. Granted, those attending less than amazing schools are having and will continue to have some trouble - especially those that aren't at the top of their respective classes. BUT, to think that somehow strong students at schools ranked lower than Columbia will have trouble repaying loans because of poor job prospects, I think, is crazy.

Attending a moderately (read, average or just below average) priced school and doing well will surely still afford you SOME decent job prospects - maybe not 160k, but then again that isnt decent, that is far, far beyond decent. The point is, just like anything else, getting the degree is only half the battle. I happen to think too many people go to 4 year colleges these days, but that doesnt mean Id say a college degree is worthless. You have to distinguish yourself.

Plus, your profile says you're class of 2012 at Northwestern? I would say thats awesome and congrats - but you either think you're screwed or that things will just be so much better for your class and not the one a year before?


Reading comprehension, sweetie. I never said anything about strong students. I said "lots of people." Initial reports suggest that bottom half even at CCN is not a happy place to be right now. I would call that a "lot of people". Is there hope for people who miss out on OCI at top schools? Maybe, maybe not.

Anonymous User
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:55 pm

I'm bottom half at CCN, and OCI has been absolute carnage so far for me.

hank44
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby hank44 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:05 pm

rayiner wrote:
hank44 wrote:
rayiner wrote:A lot of people in C/O 2011 from Columbia down will have trouble repaying their loans comfortably.



I'm sorry but this kind of arbitrary forcasting is inaccurate, if not plain silly. Granted, those attending less than amazing schools are having and will continue to have some trouble - especially those that aren't at the top of their respective classes. BUT, to think that somehow strong students at schools ranked lower than Columbia will have trouble repaying loans because of poor job prospects, I think, is crazy.

Attending a moderately (read, average or just below average) priced school and doing well will surely still afford you SOME decent job prospects - maybe not 160k, but then again that isnt decent, that is far, far beyond decent. The point is, just like anything else, getting the degree is only half the battle. I happen to think too many people go to 4 year colleges these days, but that doesnt mean Id say a college degree is worthless. You have to distinguish yourself.

Plus, your profile says you're class of 2012 at Northwestern? I would say thats awesome and congrats - but you either think you're screwed or that things will just be so much better for your class and not the one a year before?


Reading comprehension, sweetie. I never said anything about strong students. I said "lots of people." Initial reports suggest that bottom half even at CCN is not a happy place to be right now. I would call that a "lot of people". Is there hope for people who miss out on OCI at top schools? Maybe, maybe not.



No need to call another dude sweetie...

You just said it yourself "bottom half is a lot of people" - but that means top half is a lot too, lol. Thats all im saying. There are still A LOT of people who will be fine and more than fine.

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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:43 pm

Let's put it this way. There are a limited number of entry level law jobs that pay 80-90k and above. Most of these jobs pay 160k. Outside of that range, most jobs pay 35-60k.

Basically, everyone in law school is competing for the first kind of job. When the economy was booming, maybe 15-20% of all law grads could get one. In the recent economic downturn these jobs have reduced drastically, by at least half it seems. So now they are available to maybe 7%? These are rough estimations.

For example, I'm at a T14 and it seems a large percentage of the class is at risk of being shut out.

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rayiner
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby rayiner » Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:44 pm

hank44 wrote:
rayiner wrote:
hank44 wrote:
rayiner wrote:A lot of people in C/O 2011 from Columbia down will have trouble repaying their loans comfortably.



I'm sorry but this kind of arbitrary forcasting is inaccurate, if not plain silly. Granted, those attending less than amazing schools are having and will continue to have some trouble - especially those that aren't at the top of their respective classes. BUT, to think that somehow strong students at schools ranked lower than Columbia will have trouble repaying loans because of poor job prospects, I think, is crazy.

Attending a moderately (read, average or just below average) priced school and doing well will surely still afford you SOME decent job prospects - maybe not 160k, but then again that isnt decent, that is far, far beyond decent. The point is, just like anything else, getting the degree is only half the battle. I happen to think too many people go to 4 year colleges these days, but that doesnt mean Id say a college degree is worthless. You have to distinguish yourself.

Plus, your profile says you're class of 2012 at Northwestern? I would say thats awesome and congrats - but you either think you're screwed or that things will just be so much better for your class and not the one a year before?


Reading comprehension, sweetie. I never said anything about strong students. I said "lots of people." Initial reports suggest that bottom half even at CCN is not a happy place to be right now. I would call that a "lot of people". Is there hope for people who miss out on OCI at top schools? Maybe, maybe not.



No need to call another dude sweetie...

You just said it yourself "bottom half is a lot of people" - but that means top half is a lot too, lol. Thats all im saying. There are still A LOT of people who will be fine and more than fine.


Ok, so half the people at CCN are fine and a third of the people at T7-14 are fine. More people are in trouble than are fine. And these are top schools...

I think my original comment was both accurate and properly reflects what I want to say about the legal market.

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doyleoil
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby doyleoil » Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:54 pm

this year, the problem is a pile-up of incoming associates from over-recruiting in the last couple years (hence all the deferrals) - it will take the economy picking up (and lateral hiring increasing) for that backlog to work itself out - but if hiring is slashed as much as it looks like it will be this year, there may be a ray of light next year - and i still think median-ish people (even c/o 2011) are going to end up alright the higher on the rankings scale you go - seems like the callback/offer procedure has slowed to a crawl this recruiting season

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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:31 pm

T14 + Top 10% + Secondary Journal + Hard Science PhD + Pursuing Patent Litigation = 1 CB so far at non-market firm = Really Bad.

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RVP11
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby RVP11 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:T14 + Top 10% + Secondary Journal + Hard Science PhD + Pursuing Patent Litigation = 1 CB so far at non-market firm = Really Bad.


Things are bad, but chances are you:

1) attend a school that has not finished OCI yet

2) used your bids terribly

3) interviewed with a ton of Chicago and LA firms (who supposedly haven't done many callbacks yet)

or 4) have the interpersonal skills of a vegetable

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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:51 pm

Biglaw is harder to get, but there are other jobs out there. People need to lower their standards.

And even if it takes you some time to find a job, loan forbearance is usually available for a year or two (you don't make any loan payments, but interest continues to accrue). There's also IBR (income based repayment), so if you accept a lower-paying job, you can limit your loan payments. Sure, you'll be living like a student for some time, but you're not going to be in complete financial ruin like many people are saying.

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98234872348
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby 98234872348 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:53 pm

[quote="han.
Last edited by 98234872348 on Thu May 19, 2011 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:27 pm

I am a 3L at a T10 school, I'll share my view on the job market: It's bad. It's worse than anyone who is just now starting law school could even imagine. I hope you all read AboveTheLaw.com to get a flavor. But, the reality is you can't really appreciate it until you're living it.

One myth that seems like a common misconception that I think needs to be dispelled is that there is a tier of mid-level jobs between biglaw and $40k/yr. Make no mistake, there is not. The salary distribution for lawyers is bi-modal, see here for a graphical depiction of the class of 2007 starting salaries: http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog ... p_2007.gif The notion that "I'll get something, even if it isn't big law or $160k/yr, I'll get something that is good enough. I don't need such a big inflated salary" is horribly misguided. The reality is that anything is hard to come by right now, even volunteer or public interest positions.

You should know that many people are scrambling to find free, volunteer jobs right now and being turned away. The market is flooded with deferred big law outcasts who need to fill their time with something, anything.

The reality is that law school does not teach to you be a lawyer. Only practice does that. You don't realize this until much later in LS or as you contemplate actual practice. So, when you realize this, you will understand why someone would be willing to work for free so that they can obtain some modicum of practical experience--not so that they can get *better* job as a lawyer, but so they can practice law at all.

I'll take questions for a little while if anyone cares to ask any. And yes, I do have a big law offer. But, I have watched my friends and colleagues be slaughtered.

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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:50 pm

Many many people who would have been all but guaranteed a 160 job in 2007 will now have to fight to make 40k. Seriously.

hank44
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby hank44 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:18 pm

I fail to see how this even addresses Rayiner's argument, less refutes it.[/quote]

I guess the larger issue that neither of us addressed, is that there are too many law schools and too many lawyers. I know - this coming from someone currently trying to add their name to the list, lol. But seriously, me wanting to be a lawyer does not discount this observation or opinion: Of course the economy, the downturn, recession, whatever the term de jour is, the bottom line is that all of these law schools will fill every single seat that they filled last year and the year before and the year before that, and some might even have more newcomers. I guess it was bound to happen this way, even if the economy didnt implode...the economy just made it all happen sooner and made it much more noticeable. Its like professors, at least the way im seeing it. Theres only so many positions for professors, right. Once theyre hired they teach for DECADES (i understand lawyers dont usually stay put for that long, but in the short-term its the same point). And way more people getting PhDs (especially in social sciences, etc.), so naturally most of those PhD candidates wont get the professorship they thought they might. Same thing with all of us. Maybe this is getting away from the OPs point, but I guess, to me, it comes down to the fact that people need to reassess why theyre going to law school. I happen to be interested in the law, in human rights, and in equal protection (blah blah blah). I guess thats why when I hear all of this about people being shit out of luck with 50k jobs, its not such a terrible letdown because im not going to law school to get rich. sure its nice, and if i was offered a lot of money id take it, but if i get a job i really want, and like doing, and i can live comfortably, then theres still a market out there for me. until more people think like that, their livelihoods will hinge on wall street - which, incidentally: if law students want to get so rich, they should switch professions, and theyll be a lot of lawyers regretting going to law school once they cant make 160k... and that, to me, is a shame because law school should be much more than that.

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rayiner
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby rayiner » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:T14 + Top 10% + Secondary Journal + Hard Science PhD + Pursuing Patent Litigation = 1 CB so far at non-market firm = Really Bad.


Either flame or you whipped out your dick during interviews.

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rayiner
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby rayiner » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:49 am

The frou frou "law school should be so much more" people really piss me off. You think learning to be overhead is really such a fucking huge intellectual calling? Fact is that people go to law school, at least the top schools to make $$$. That's why even PI friendly NYU sends most people to biglaw. And now most of those people are fucked. Probably a good thing for society actually...

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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:02 am

JSUVA2012 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:T14 + Top 10% + Secondary Journal + Hard Science PhD + Pursuing Patent Litigation = 1 CB so far at non-market firm = Really Bad.


Things are bad, but chances are you:

1) attend a school that has not finished OCI yet

2) used your bids terribly

3) interviewed with a ton of Chicago and LA firms (who supposedly haven't done many callbacks yet)

or 4) have the interpersonal skills of a vegetable


It also depends on which hard science. Anything outside of EECS is pretty much unemployable for IP.

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rayiner
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby rayiner » Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:T14 + Top 10% + Secondary Journal + Hard Science PhD + Pursuing Patent Litigation = 1 CB so far at non-market firm = Really Bad.


Things are bad, but chances are you:

1) attend a school that has not finished OCI yet

2) used your bids terribly

3) interviewed with a ton of Chicago and LA firms (who supposedly haven't done many callbacks yet)

or 4) have the interpersonal skills of a vegetable


It also depends on which hard science. Anything outside of EECS is pretty much unemployable for IP.


PhD in Chem/Bio is historically just as employable for IP.

Tenrick
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Tenrick » Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:54 am

EECS???

I'm going to think that means Electrical Engineering or Computer Science....right?

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:53 am

Tenrick wrote:EECS???

I'm going to think that means Electrical Engineering or Computer Science....right?

Yes.

Anonymous User
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Re: Just how bad is the legal job market really?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:57 am

JSUVA2012 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:T14 + Top 10% + Secondary Journal + Hard Science PhD + Pursuing Patent Litigation = 1 CB so far at non-market firm = Really Bad.


Things are bad, but chances are you:

1) attend a school that has not finished OCI yet

2) used your bids terribly

3) interviewed with a ton of Chicago and LA firms (who supposedly haven't done many callbacks yet)

or 4) have the interpersonal skills of a vegetable


1. Done, but firms could obviously still contact me. I have been told by Career services that many firms are doing things in tiers and so CBs may be offered later.

2. Bid across entire range of firms, focusing on firms with large group and many clients in my specialty.

3. Nope, not Chi or LA. Only bid in one competitive major market and think that may be most of the problem (I thought I'd be fine with strong grades and resume). Strong ties.

4. Have been told I interview well and had a good set of interviews, minus a few typical awkward moments.

I think my resume plays very poorly to the corporate, tax, and white collar lawyers I interviewed with from GP firms. Many seemed scared that there was any science on my resume (there is quite a bit, although it's been thoroughly vetted by career services and many of the IP lawyers told me it was stellar). I did my best to discuss my experiences in skills and interest-based language, but I think it can be hard to overcome that initial bias.




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