Where to go from here

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jjf68

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Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:03 pm

Hello all, first time poster. I hope I have this in the right place, and if not, mods feel free to mod.

My educational background:

I graduated from a mid-tier law school almost a decade ago, middle third in class rank (I think--at one point about halfway through, seeing that nothing I did seemed to move me up or down, I stopped checking my rank). I was an engineer in a former life, with a master's degree and a couple years work experience. I had a professor my first year tell me that with that kind of background, I could pretty much write my own ticket. Of course, that was just prior to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

My work background:

When I finished law school, I had ZERO employment prospects. I even had a mentor attorney--whose advice about employment prospects was a big part of my decision to go to law school in the first place--tell me that people with my particular engineering background just didn't really get into patent law (the area that had initially interested me, though I found interest in several legal disciplines while a student). I moved back to my small hometown (~50k residents) and moved in with my parents. Fortunately within a few months I found a state judicial clerkship, and a few months after that I went to work for the public defender's office. I worked there for 3 years, and seeing nothing on the horizon, I opened my own practice. I was doing okay in that for awhile when I was offered a job with a small local firm.

I took that offer, and that's the biggest regret of my career. They were good people who I still consider friends, but there turned out to be no motivation to help me grow my career (and in turn, grow the firm). To this day I'm not sure why I was hired. Two years ago I took a job with our local prosecutor's office and I've been here since.

My current situation:

I'm a quasi-state employee (not directly employed by the state, but we receive state benefits) making ~$50k. I have student loans but not to a crippling degree. My wife and I just welcomed our first child.

My question:

What do I do now? There are essentially no job prospects here--there's literally no way to advance in my current position (without running for the elected position, which would mean trying to unseat my boss four years from now, a prospect I wouldn't consider for a thousand reasons), and for every once-every-couple-of-years opportunity that comes along locally, there are half a dozen people to fill it, and it seems like I'm never in a position to be the winning candidate. I think I'm a terrible interview, but that's a separate topic perhaps.

We've considered moving, but here we have built-in child care, cost of living isn't terrible, etc. To justify moving, I'd have to have a killer opportunity, and not only do I not know how to find them if they exist, but I don't know any reason why I'd be any more likely to land a good opportunity elsewhere than I am here where I actually have some connection to the network.

I've considered looking into other careers, but I don't know at 36 that there's much sense in trying to start over, especially when I don't have a BAD job now.

Such is my dilemma. My current job isn't good enough to feel like I can stay here forever and provide the life I want to provide my family, but it's not bad enough to seriously consider starting over with something else. If you'll all overlook the mega long post, does anyone have any advice?

Auxilio

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by Auxilio » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:16 pm

What's the process for getting appointed/elected a state trial judge (of any level)?

Other than going back to private defense work that seems like the most obvious exit option for a PD/Prosecutor.

jjf68

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:24 pm

Auxilio wrote:What's the process for getting appointed/elected a state trial judge (of any level)?

Other than going back to private defense work that seems like the most obvious exit option for a PD/Prosecutor.
district and circuit state court judges are local general elections. here, those positions (1 district, 1 circuit, and 1 family court which is a circuit court) are basically untouchable unless one of the current REALLY screws up, so i don't consider those real options.

"most obvious exit option for a prosecutor" is a troubling aspect of this--an engineering background is a smaller and smaller feather in the cap the further i get from it. i'll soon be (if i'm not already) a prosecuting attorney with a bit of civil practice experience who just so happens to have been an engineer at one point.

111tesfa111

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by 111tesfa111 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:49 pm

jjf68 wrote:Hello all, first time poster. I hope I have this in the right place, and if not, mods feel free to mod.

My educational background:

I graduated from a mid-tier law school almost a decade ago, middle third in class rank (I think--at one point about halfway through, seeing that nothing I did seemed to move me up or down, I stopped checking my rank). I was an engineer in a former life, with a master's degree and a couple years work experience. I had a professor my first year tell me that with that kind of background, I could pretty much write my own ticket. Of course, that was just prior to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

My work background:

When I finished law school, I had ZERO employment prospects. I even had a mentor attorney--whose advice about employment prospects was a big part of my decision to go to law school in the first place--tell me that people with my particular engineering background just didn't really get into patent law (the area that had initially interested me, though I found interest in several legal disciplines while a student). I moved back to my small hometown (~50k residents) and moved in with my parents. Fortunately within a few months I found a state judicial clerkship, and a few months after that I went to work for the public defender's office. I worked there for 3 years, and seeing nothing on the horizon, I opened my own practice. I was doing okay in that for awhile when I was offered a job with a small local firm.

I took that offer, and that's the biggest regret of my career. They were good people who I still consider friends, but there turned out to be no motivation to help me grow my career (and in turn, grow the firm). To this day I'm not sure why I was hired. Two years ago I took a job with our local prosecutor's office and I've been here since.

My current situation:

I'm a quasi-state employee (not directly employed by the state, but we receive state benefits) making ~$50k. I have student loans but not to a crippling degree. My wife and I just welcomed our first child.

My question:

What do I do now? There are essentially no job prospects here--there's literally no way to advance in my current position (without running for the elected position, which would mean trying to unseat my boss four years from now, a prospect I wouldn't consider for a thousand reasons), and for every once-every-couple-of-years opportunity that comes along locally, there are half a dozen people to fill it, and it seems like I'm never in a position to be the winning candidate. I think I'm a terrible interview, but that's a separate topic perhaps.

We've considered moving, but here we have built-in child care, cost of living isn't terrible, etc. To justify moving, I'd have to have a killer opportunity, and not only do I not know how to find them if they exist, but I don't know any reason why I'd be any more likely to land a good opportunity elsewhere than I am here where I actually have some connection to the network.

I've considered looking into other careers, but I don't know at 36 that there's much sense in trying to start over, especially when I don't have a BAD job now.

Such is my dilemma. My current job isn't good enough to feel like I can stay here forever and provide the life I want to provide my family, but it's not bad enough to seriously consider starting over with something else. If you'll all overlook the mega long post, does anyone have any advice?
I can't say that I have much to offer in terms of advice, but it would help to know how committed are you to continuing to practice law.

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PeanutsNJam

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by PeanutsNJam » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:54 pm

You could first apply for local federal prosecutor’s office. A us attorney job would open many doors, but it’s a long shot.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by QContinuum » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:07 pm

jjf68 wrote:What do I do now? There are essentially no job prospects here--there's literally no way to advance in my current position (without running for the elected position, which would mean trying to unseat my boss four years from now, a prospect I wouldn't consider for a thousand reasons), and for every once-every-couple-of-years opportunity that comes along locally, there are half a dozen people to fill it, and it seems like I'm never in a position to be the winning candidate. I think I'm a terrible interview, but that's a separate topic perhaps.

We've considered moving, but here we have built-in child care, cost of living isn't terrible, etc. To justify moving, I'd have to have a killer opportunity, and not only do I not know how to find them if they exist, but I don't know any reason why I'd be any more likely to land a good opportunity elsewhere than I am here where I actually have some connection to the network.
So I think the above reasoning isn't especially sound. Yes, you're well-connected to your current local legal network, but there are no jobs, as you've observed firsthand. The local legal market simply isn't large enough.

I don't want to be overly optimistic in guaranteeing that you'd land a great job if you were to move to the closest major market, whether that's Sil Val or Houston or Chicago or D.C. or NYC, but there'd at least be many more positions available. State positions in CA may also pay more to account for the tremendous COL there.

Maybe try seeking out these positions yourself, online? Or try using a recruiter to see what bites? I agree that it seems overly risky to just up and move without a job already secured. You could try looking for government positions as well as small/midlaw litigation positions. Plaintiff's law might be an option too. Or maybe insurance defense at one of the large mills - I believe they pay six figures, even if the work is usually dull. You might be particularly attractive given your local prosecutorial experience.
jjf68 wrote:I've considered looking into other careers, but I don't know at 36 that there's much sense in trying to start over, especially when I don't have a BAD job now.
What kinds of other careers would you consider? What would it take to get yourself in a position to be competitive for well-paying jobs in those careers? It seems to me that you'd probably have a tough time breaking back into engineering (if that's one of the options you were considering) given how many years you've spent away from the field.

Another consideration is that non-legal employers may well view you as a flight risk. There is often a perception of law as a lucrative profession. Many hiring managers (often wrongly) assume that anyone with a J.D. will be looking to bolt for a legal job the first chance they get. You might be able to mitigate that perception by going back to school for another degree/certificate/whatnot - demonstrating your commitment to leaving the law - but you'd have to consider whether it'd be worth paying for that training.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by nixy » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:07 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:You could first apply for local federal prosecutor’s office. A us attorney job would open many doors, but it’s a long shot.
There might not be a local office, but even so, I’m not sure an AUSA job is going to open doors in that particular community that the OP wouldn’t already be competitive for. It’s certainly not going to get the OP back to engineering-related stuff, which is what they seem to want.
Last edited by QContinuum on Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where to go from here

Post by pfunkera » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:43 pm

You can explore patent law again. I think a patent examiner probably starts off at or higher than your current salary plus, you can work remotely most of the time. Not sure how difficult it would be to make that transition at this age, but its worth a look. I am not sure they work is the most exciting daily work, but it would be a starting point to find a better job after a few years. Good luck.
Last edited by QContinuum on Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jjf68

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:02 pm

111tesfa111 wrote:
I can't say that I have much to offer in terms of advice, but it would help to know how committed are you to continuing to practice law.
first of all, thanks to everyone for the input. i'll try to address everything in order.

overall i'd say i'm seriously committed to the practice of law in a broad sense, but open to the idea of a job on the fringes of what we'd traditionally consider the "practice of law" if such a position were more lucrative. i enjoy my current job, i've enjoyed most of the jobs i've had since being admitted to the bar, and i've enjoyed most areas of the legal field that i've had even academic dealings with, but if someone offered me twice as much money to do something only law-related, i'd be gone so fast that heads would spin.

now, i know that makes me sound like money is all that matters to me. it isn't the only thing that matters, but as i get older and my family grows, i've come to find that what i do for employment is mostly a means to a financial end, i.e. providing a good life for my family. i wouldn't do something i hate just to make more money, but if the most financially lucrative option is something non-traditional and enjoyable, i'm open to the possibility.

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jjf68

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:05 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:You could first apply for local federal prosecutor’s office. A us attorney job would open many doors, but it’s a long shot.
there is a US attorney's office close enough that we wouldn't have to relocate. i tend to frequent usajobs.gov and assume it covers everything fed, but more and more i've found that specific agencies have their own job posting sites that maybe usajobs doesn't catch.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:13 pm

QContinuum wrote: So I think the above reasoning isn't especially sound. Yes, you're well-connected to your current local legal network, but there are no jobs, as you've observed firsthand. The local legal market simply isn't large enough.

I don't want to be overly optimistic in guaranteeing that you'd land a great job if you were to move to the closest major market, whether that's Sil Val or Houston or Chicago or D.C. or NYC, but there'd at least be many more positions available. State positions in CA may also pay more to account for the tremendous COL there.

Maybe try seeking out these positions yourself, online? Or try using a recruiter to see what bites? I agree that it seems overly risky to just up and move without a job already secured. You could try looking for government positions as well as small/midlaw litigation positions. Plaintiff's law might be an option too. Or maybe insurance defense at one of the large mills - I believe they pay six figures, even if the work is usually dull. You might be particularly attractive given your local prosecutorial experience.
my concern with looking in larger markets is that i don't really know how to go about it, or rather, how to muster any leverage with employers. when i was in my law school town (not a big market, but much bigger than my current locale) i couldn't even land an interview with literally any employer. maybe a few years of experience would help in that regard, but my pessimistic mind says employers in larger markets would look at me, not know me from adam, and discard me with very little interest in the fact that i've been practicing in nowhere, kentucky for a few years.
What kinds of other careers would you consider? What would it take to get yourself in a position to be competitive for well-paying jobs in those careers? It seems to me that you'd probably have a tough time breaking back into engineering (if that's one of the options you were considering) given how many years you've spent away from the field.

Another consideration is that non-legal employers may well view you as a flight risk. There is often a perception of law as a lucrative profession. Many hiring managers (often wrongly) assume that anyone with a J.D. will be looking to bolt for a legal job the first chance they get. You might be able to mitigate that perception by going back to school for another degree/certificate/whatnot - demonstrating your commitment to leaving the law - but you'd have to consider whether it'd be worth paying for that training.
that's maybe where i'm most in the dark--knowing other areas where i could apply myself. they say you can do anything with a JD, but when it comes time to job search, you find that you can pretty much just be a lawyer with a JD. i wouldn't want to go back to traditional engineering, i.e. design work--i left that world because i found it boring. but i have analytical/mathematical skills from that world that are still sharp that i feel like make me a unique candidate for *something.* problem is finding out what that something is.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by QContinuum » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:30 pm

jjf68 wrote:my concern with looking in larger markets is that i don't really know how to go about it, or rather, how to muster any leverage with employers. when i was in my law school town (not a big market, but much bigger than my current locale) i couldn't even land an interview with literally any employer. maybe a few years of experience would help in that regard, but my pessimistic mind says employers in larger markets would look at me, not know me from adam, and discard me with very little interest in the fact that i've been practicing in nowhere, kentucky for a few years.
While networking certainly helps, it isn't the only way to go about finding a job. Simply applying online can work (has worked, in fact, for me and many other posters). It's important to tailor your resume and cover letter to each position to highlight what you have to offer. For insurance defense, for example, you'd more want to highlight your familiarity with certain kinds of matters (ID firms won't care much about trial experience), whereas for plaintiffs' firms, you'd more want to emphasize your trial experience.

At least try it before dismissing it.
jjf68 wrote:that's maybe where i'm most in the dark--knowing other areas where i could apply myself. they say you can do anything with a JD, but when it comes time to job search, you find that you can pretty much just be a lawyer with a JD. i wouldn't want to go back to traditional engineering, i.e. design work--i left that world because i found it boring. but i have analytical/mathematical skills from that world that are still sharp that i feel like make me a unique candidate for *something.* problem is finding out what that something is.
You are entirely right to conclude that "you can pretty much just be a lawyer with a JD." A J.D. is absolutely not the traditional liberal arts college degree on steroids it's made out to be. It's why, here on TLS, we routinely implore 0Ls to be certain they want to practice law before going to law school. We invariably advise folks not to attend law school if they're not 100% sure they want to practice law.

I can't really think of any "law-adjacent" areas where you'd have a strong shot at breaking in, especially now that you already have a considerable work history as a prosecutor under your belt (which is a good thing, don't get me wrong!).

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:37 pm

QContinuum wrote: You are entirely right to conclude that "you can pretty much just be a lawyer with a JD." A J.D. is absolutely not the traditional liberal arts college degree on steroids it's made out to be. It's why, here on TLS, we routinely implore 0Ls to be certain they want to practice law before going to law school. We invariably advise folks not to attend law school if they're not 100% sure they want to practice law.

I can't really think of any "law-adjacent" areas where you'd have a strong shot at breaking in, especially now that you already have a considerable work history as a prosecutor under your belt (which is a good thing, don't get me wrong!).
i struggle with how much to hold on to my engineering past.

part of me figures i have a master's in engineering, which is something that a very few lawyers have, especially locally, and that has to be applicable to something, and potentially something lucrative.

another part of me says i was an engineer once, but now i'm a lawyer. i wasted a little time in the engineering field, but to continue to hold onto some fantasy that i can parlay that into something wonderful just falls victim to the sunk cost fallacy, so go out and lawyer my tail off, develop that career, and don't get hung up on a previous life.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by QContinuum » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:54 pm

jjf68 wrote:i struggle with how much to hold on to my engineering past.

part of me figures i have a master's in engineering, which is something that a very few lawyers have, especially locally, and that has to be applicable to something, and potentially something lucrative.

another part of me says i was an engineer once, but now i'm a lawyer. i wasted a little time in the engineering field, but to continue to hold onto some fantasy that i can parlay that into something wonderful just falls victim to the sunk cost fallacy, so go out and lawyer my tail off, develop that career, and don't get hung up on a previous life.
I mean, really the only way to leverage your engineering background at this point would be to transition into patent law. That might be something to consider. I assume you tried and failed to break into patent law as a new grad, years back. But you can still try again now - you'd probably have to move, but there are likely smaller IP shops that'd be willing to take on an aspiring patent litigator with engineering W/E & years of courtroom experience, especially if you're willing to start as a more junior associate. I don't think you'd get a BigLaw shop to take you on, but a smaller IP shop might be a definite possibility.

Have you taken the patent bar? While not required for litigation, it can help because A) it helps indicate your dedication to patent law, B) it demonstrates your familiarity with basic patent law principles, and C) it allows you to hold yourself out as a "patent attorney." I've known litigators who never aspired to do patent prosecution who took the patent bar purely so they could use the "patent attorney" title in marketing themselves.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:26 pm

QContinuum wrote: I mean, really the only way to leverage your engineering background at this point would be to transition into patent law. That might be something to consider. I assume you tried and failed to break into patent law as a new grad, years back. But you can still try again now - you'd probably have to move, but there are likely smaller IP shops that'd be willing to take on an aspiring patent litigator with engineering W/E & years of courtroom experience, especially if you're willing to start as a more junior associate. I don't think you'd get a BigLaw shop to take you on, but a smaller IP shop might be a definite possibility.

Have you taken the patent bar? While not required for litigation, it can help because A) it helps indicate your dedication to patent law, B) it demonstrates your familiarity with basic patent law principles, and C) it allows you to hold yourself out as a "patent attorney." I've known litigators who never aspired to do patent prosecution who took the patent bar purely so they could use the "patent attorney" title in marketing themselves.
i tried to post about this earlier but i think i messed up because i don't see it--long story short, i spent my 1L summer prepping for the patent bar intending to take it at my 2L christmas break. PTO lost my application, by the time i found out it was too late to take it at 2L christmas break, and i ended up never reapplying to take it. :oops:

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by nealric » Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:28 pm

jjf68 wrote:
i tried to post about this earlier but i think i messed up because i don't see it--long story short, i spent my 1L summer prepping for the patent bar intending to take it at my 2L christmas break. PTO lost my application, by the time i found out it was too late to take it at 2L christmas break, and i ended up never reapplying to take it. :oops:
That was probably your first big career mistake.

From your description, it sounds like there just aren't great places to go in your current locale- it's too small of a legal market. If your main goal is to get out of the rut and make more money, I think patent law is probably your best bet. Having trial experience could make you marketable, but you may need to be geographically flexible.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by Spartan_Alum_12 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:50 pm

jjf68 wrote:
QContinuum wrote: I mean, really the only way to leverage your engineering background at this point would be to transition into patent law. That might be something to consider. I assume you tried and failed to break into patent law as a new grad, years back. But you can still try again now - you'd probably have to move, but there are likely smaller IP shops that'd be willing to take on an aspiring patent litigator with engineering W/E & years of courtroom experience, especially if you're willing to start as a more junior associate. I don't think you'd get a BigLaw shop to take you on, but a smaller IP shop might be a definite possibility.

Have you taken the patent bar? While not required for litigation, it can help because A) it helps indicate your dedication to patent law, B) it demonstrates your familiarity with basic patent law principles, and C) it allows you to hold yourself out as a "patent attorney." I've known litigators who never aspired to do patent prosecution who took the patent bar purely so they could use the "patent attorney" title in marketing themselves.
i tried to post about this earlier but i think i messed up because i don't see it--long story short, i spent my 1L summer prepping for the patent bar intending to take it at my 2L christmas break. PTO lost my application, by the time i found out it was too late to take it at 2L christmas break, and i ended up never reapplying to take it. :oops:
What specifically is your engineering degree and engineering work experience?

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:41 am

Spartan_Alum_12 wrote: What specifically is your engineering degree and engineering work experience?
I have a master's degree in civil engineering, and I worked for awhile in structural design before going back to law school.

I know, like my mentor attorney told me after graduation, that CEs generally don't get into patent law. I also know that same IP-firm-owning attorney told me before I started law school that a job would practically be waiting for me when I finished.

I've often wondered if he had intentions to hire me originally but then didn't like my grades after the fact, or if he never had any such intention and was originally just blowing smoke up my tail figuring I'd go away.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by gregfootball2001 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:27 am

jjf68 wrote:
Spartan_Alum_12 wrote: What specifically is your engineering degree and engineering work experience?
I have a master's degree in civil engineering, and I worked for awhile in structural design before going back to law school.

I know, like my mentor attorney told me after graduation, that CEs generally don't get into patent law. I also know that same IP-firm-owning attorney told me before I started law school that a job would practically be waiting for me when I finished.

I've often wondered if he had intentions to hire me originally but then didn't like my grades after the fact, or if he never had any such intention and was originally just blowing smoke up my tail figuring I'd go away.
Look at smaller and mid-size firms with construction litigation groups. Play up your engineering background as familiarity with the industry, and your PD/DA experience is a strength - you're someone that can come in and second-chair at a moment's notice, or even take over smaller (read: more annoying) cases. You'd have to come in as an associate, but you can play up the fact that you have much more courtroom experience than the firm's associates normally do. Really spend time making sure that your writing sample is great. Many firms have some sort of construction practice, and you only need one bite.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by Spartan_Alum_12 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:19 pm

jjf68 wrote:
Spartan_Alum_12 wrote: What specifically is your engineering degree and engineering work experience?
I have a master's degree in civil engineering, and I worked for awhile in structural design before going back to law school.

I know, like my mentor attorney told me after graduation, that CEs generally don't get into patent law. I also know that same IP-firm-owning attorney told me before I started law school that a job would practically be waiting for me when I finished.

I've often wondered if he had intentions to hire me originally but then didn't like my grades after the fact, or if he never had any such intention and was originally just blowing smoke up my tail figuring I'd go away.
That's a crappy thing for that attorney to do. But yeah, it's true that it will tougher for a civil E to break into patent law, especially patent prosecution. There are a few firms that will consider any patent barred attorneys, but being in another practice area for so long will make it tough. I like the poster gregfootball's advice above which would probably suit you better given your background.

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:29 pm

Spartan_Alum_12 wrote:It's true that it will tougher for a civil E to break into patent law, especially patent prosecution. There are a few firms that will consider any patent barred attorneys, but being in another practice area for so long will make it tough. I like the poster gregfootball's advice above which would probably suit you better given your background.
Honestly I think construction litigation may be my wheelhouse. There aren't many places around here that have much of a practice in that area, but sometimes you just have to wait on one opportunity to come along.

Does anyone have any good advice on how to scrounge up a good writing sample? Most of what I do for my current job wouldn't mean squat to a construction litigation firm.

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gregfootball2001

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by gregfootball2001 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:15 pm

jjf68 wrote:
Spartan_Alum_12 wrote:It's true that it will tougher for a civil E to break into patent law, especially patent prosecution. There are a few firms that will consider any patent barred attorneys, but being in another practice area for so long will make it tough. I like the poster gregfootball's advice above which would probably suit you better given your background.
Honestly I think construction litigation may be my wheelhouse. There aren't many places around here that have much of a practice in that area, but sometimes you just have to wait on one opportunity to come along.

Does anyone have any good advice on how to scrounge up a good writing sample? Most of what I do for my current job wouldn't mean squat to a construction litigation firm.
You may be surprised how many firms do it, even as part of their commercial lit groups. Just because you're in a town of 50k, that doesn't mean you can't get work from the closest large city, especially if your rates are lower. Look a little deeper at firm websites. Go to your state bar (or local bar) page and look at the construction law section. Just to be clear, you probably won't find firms that only do construction law - they'll do lots of things, of which construction law is one part.

A motion could work well as a writing sample. Construction litigation can use a lot of expert testimony, so if you have a daubert or similar motion in limine (something that quotes law and applies law to fact), that would be fine. Barring that, any evidentiary motion would probably be fine (try to not use the criminal-only stuff if possible), and would play into your whole "I can run a trial" spin. Barring that, anything that applies law to fact.

QContinuum

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by QContinuum » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:53 pm

gregfootball2001 wrote:A motion could work well as a writing sample. Construction litigation can use a lot of expert testimony, so if you have a daubert or similar motion in limine (something that quotes law and applies law to fact), that would be fine. Barring that, any evidentiary motion would probably be fine (try to not use the criminal-only stuff if possible), and would play into your whole "I can run a trial" spin. Barring that, anything that applies law to fact.
Agree with the above, and to be clear, it doesn't need to be anything related to construction or civil engineering. You want to use the writing sample to show your chops as a litigator - you already have your civil engineering work experience as your "in" for construction in particular.

jjf68

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by jjf68 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:03 pm

Thanks so much to all of you for the advice. As a small-town attorney I feel in the dark about so many things when it comes to career building (in many of the threads I've read here, I don't even understand what are clearly common terms), and I have very helpful colleagues but they're mostly coming at it with the same basic experience that I have. It's incredibly helpful to have a broad network of folks who can give good input.

Jinjuice

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Re: Where to go from here

Post by Jinjuice » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:49 pm

Good luck to you. I am a recent licensed attorney who also "feels in the dark" about many things. I too have/had ZERO aspects of employment after graduation due to some decisions, which I am solely responsible for. Most of it was, as you mentioned, not understanding common terms and not caring for it enough that caused me a setback after graduating. This Forum was available to me, but I did not read up on some common job application methods, etc. I have been mostly lurking here recently picking up advice which I should have picked up on a few years ago. I feel so behind, but like I said, it cannot be changed now. I graduated from a T-1 regional and passed the bar on my first try with nothing to look forward to and am still hoping for something good. Right now, I am looking better than I was before. Again, good luck to you. Hopefully people will help you here.

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