SBUalex wrote: Wendelsr wrote:
ryanct7 wrote:The positivity in this forum is overwhelming!
Its actually making me nervous.
Sorry if my whining --and I can understand how it came off that way; sorry bout that--made you feel that way. I'm glad that we can kind of see BOTH SIDES of the spectrum on this forum, and, LawMan, I appreciate you posting. As you said, the job market for lawyers has changed dramatically in the time since your time in law school, and the reality of UConn's employment statistics these days is pretty grim: http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/uconn/2013/
The main reason I had been considering UConn Law is that, having spent most of my life in CT, I believed it to be the best place to study law and make connections that would lead to in-state employment. It has been said before, but most of the schools ranked 21-100 (and even beyond that) can be good places to study law if you're hoping to get a job in that area after graduation. That said, there are no cities in Connecticut that rank among America's top 40 law hubs. The Nutmeg State is also on the wrong end of this chart of states with the "Most Law School Grads per Job Opening" http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... ds/276463/
For me, that information combined with my lack of family connections in the legal field (I'm not suggesting that your kids haven't worked hard and done everything they could to secure good jobs, but I can't imagine that having a successful lawyer for a father hurt their chances) makes it a tough sell for me. Now, couple those considerations with the fact that UConn--my only in-state option--would be easily the most expensive school for me to attend, despite being the lowest ranked and worst from an employment standpoint, and there's almost no way I could justify matriculating.
That said, there are people who succeed at UConn, and walk away with good jobs in (what I consider) a great state to live in, but it is a gamble no matter how you frame it. I understand that the same can be said for most law schools outside of the Top 14 or 20, but very few "Top Tier" schools have an employment rate worse than UConn's 41% nine months after graduation.
EDITED for clarity's sake.
I thank you for posting those statistics. They really are dismal. From what I see, opportunities in virtually all of the states that UConn grads traditionally work in are down dramatically. The states of New York, Connecticut, RI, Mass, VT and NH are all depressed job markets for lawyers. Consequently, job placement from the area law schools are down. Even Harvard is at 86%!
I think you are correct in saying that the job market is worse than it was 34 years ago when I graduated. However, I suppose the good news is that fewer people are now going to law school, and the economy is starting to pick up. Also, good news for those of you going to UConn, my understanding is that UConn is trying very hard to set up to set up internships with local law firms and companies. I think they are aware of the problem, and trying to affirmatively do something about it.
However, let me tell you one very important fact of life in the law biz: one kind of lawyer is always in demand - the rain maker.
One thing you can do is show initiative. If you cannot land something after law school, open your own office. Start by taking things that you cannot screw up, e.g., no fault divorces. Once you take a few, your name will be out there, and you will get more. You will hang around the court house and meet other lawyers. You will build the contacts you don't have now.
I know a lot of people who started that way and did quite well. Many are doing far better than they ever would have done working for someone else.
Not interested in divorce law? I was involved in some divorce cases, and believe me, I steer far away from them. But they pay the bills. Here are some other ideas:
1. Offer to help out small firms on a part-time basis. Small firms have cycles of up and down. So do big firms, but big firms can absorb the cycles better. Small firms frequently need to take on a summer associate or part time help. Not glamorous, but you get your foot in the door.
2. Consider joining the JAG Corps. The Service has need of lawyers, and I can tell you for the Navy, that if you go to sea it will be on a large ship such as a Carrier, and most JAG officers never go to sea, unless they are career officers. The money is decent and you get free room and board.
3. Seriously start your own business. UConn offers entrepreneurial courses on hanging your own shingle. Rent a room in another firm and advertise for the type of clients you want. Frequently, if you rent space, the firm you are renting from will have a lot of expertise that you can dip into for free. Ultimately, working for yourself is far better than working for someone else.
I cannot stress to you how much better it is to try SOMETHING, than to sit around on your butt and wait for someone to offer you a job. In a free market, all the jobs out there are potentially yours. You just have to go get them. Once you have established that you are a rain maker, I doubt you will have any trouble finding a job at someone else's firm, if you still want to.
Let me finish by telling you a saying we had when I was in law school:
The top 10% either go into academics or big firms. In academics they have an easy life and make $60,000 per year
In big firms they work 80 hours per week and make $120,000 until they burn out. 2% make partner.
The middle 60% take jobs in small or middle size firms and start around 40k to 60k.
The bottom 30% cannot get jobs anywhere so they open their own practice and make millions.
The salary figures I give here probably need updating, but you get the idea.