Law School Discussion

Law Students => Job Search => Topic started by: cbiem8801 on September 11, 2010, 05:45:12 PM

Title: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: cbiem8801 on September 11, 2010, 05:45:12 PM
My brother just graduated this Spring from Stetson in St. Petersburg, FL and passed the bar on his first try, but he hasn't been able to find work. Even obtaining interviews has been rather tough. When I asked why he hasn't taken the initiative to provide his own opportunities by offering pro-bono services to gain experience and build rep, he says he's already tried to sign up with various legal volunteer services but they're all filled to capacity already!

I wonder if he couldn't take the role of an activist lawyer in the mean-time, seeking out his own issues and cases to attack with a predetermined agenda. Are there any lawyers with experience doing stuff like this, especially in similar circumstances?

Can anyone else offer some practical, helpful advice? It's tough watching my brother continue to wait tables after 7 years in college and law school, and I can tell he's eager even just to use his education whether or not it'll help him start immediately chipping away at his tuition debt. Many thanks!
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: MEMEMEME on September 12, 2010, 08:01:06 AM
I suppose at this point he should start looking at jobs that aren't lawyer jobs but can use a law degree. For example- trust officers in banks, government work, project document reviewers, and undergraduate law class instructors. He might want to look in other states as well. A lot of firms will hire you on and give you time to pass the bar. I'm sorry for your brother's troubles- but unfortunately, the FL and CA state bars are the most difficult solely because it is overcrowded with lawyers. Your brother should also try to apply for judicial clerkships. There are many of those- although the ones that aren't federal don't pay too well and if he didn't get top marks, he would be unlikely to get one in any state anyway. However, any judicial clerkship opens MANY doors and gives a young lawyer a lot of experience. Goodluck.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: Hamilton on September 13, 2010, 05:10:39 AM
Unfortunately this is an increasing trend.  There is a body out there that will simply dismiss this as him making the wrong choices, not working hard enough to find a job, being too selective, etc., etc., but the sad reality is that there simply are more lawyers than jobs - folks do not want to hear that.  Agree with previous poster, try to find a job based on his undergrad degree or which is enhanced by JD, but where JD not necessary.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on September 13, 2010, 01:20:36 PM
As Hamilton said it is tough out there, but that is the case for every profession. When you are in school you should try to get as many internship and practical experiences as possible. It is over now and maybe he did everything right who knows, but in all professions it is hard to get your start. You need to keep your head up and keep plugging away, but it takes time.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: Hamilton on September 13, 2010, 02:11:59 PM
I've read where folks recommend omitting the JD from resume - I do not buy that.  One should never apologize for getting a better educations.  If the concern is coming across as overqualified, that can be addressed in cover letter/interview - there are a lot of positive things learned in LS, highlight those and how they make you a better (not overqualified) candidate.  If I am an employer in a non-legal field, I am worried that this is a temporary gig and you will be out looking for a lawyer job while working for me - be prepared to address that honestly.  The best answer would be along the lines of found practicing law not what want to be doing, want to be doing what I am interviewing for, here is why my JD makes me an even better candidate.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: Hamilton on November 01, 2010, 03:59:08 PM
More facts to back up the anecdotal evidence - think twice before deciding to go to law school.

From the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/30/AR2010103000211.html):

"Although the National Association for Law Placement, an industry nonprofit group, reports that employment for the class of 2009 was 88.3 percent, about a quarter of those jobs were temporary, without the salaries needed by most new lawyers to pay off crushing debts. Another 10 percent were part-time. And thousands of jobs were fellowships or grants provided by the new lawyers' law schools."
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 01, 2010, 08:42:46 PM
I agree with everything in the article, but again present the question of what industry was not hurt by the GLOBAL recission. This same article could be written about MBA degrees, Bachelor degrees, Marriage & Family Therapy degrees, Art School (by far the most blatant ripoff of any education), the list goes on. Medical school does give you a job, but that is after several years of school and a 5 year residency so it takes about 10 years to even become a doctor. If you stick to the legal profession for several years eventually you will probably be doing something somewhere in the legal field. The bottom line is that education is a huge risk no matter what you are going into. Go to law school fi you want to be a lawyer and even if you nail the lsat, nail your exams, and pass the bar. Nothing is guaranteed in what profession do they say oh my gosh how exciting a new graduate we get to spend a lot money to train. Even in the NBA a lot of coaches hate having rookies on their team.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: oleg1244 on November 01, 2010, 11:47:00 PM
wooooow. Graduated law school and passed Bar??? ouch! :(((((( That is not very encouraging...
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: Hamilton on November 02, 2010, 06:08:04 AM
88.3% (employment) - 25% (temp jobs) - 10% (part-time) = 53.3% ... not a good employment stat...  effectivly a 46% unemployment rate assuming everyone going to law school seeks to be a full-time lawyer.  That is not global recession, that is a changing and shrinking job market compounded by an excessive supply of lawyers.

More facts to back up the anecdotal evidence - think twice before deciding to go to law school.

From the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/30/AR2010103000211.html):

"Although the National Association for Law Placement, an industry nonprofit group, reports that employment for the class of 2009 was 88.3 percent, about a quarter of those jobs were temporary, without the salaries needed by most new lawyers to pay off crushing debts. Another 10 percent were part-time. And thousands of jobs were fellowships or grants provided by the new lawyers' law schools."
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 02, 2010, 08:41:22 AM
Well if other degrees even bothered to keep track I counter the argument, but they do not. So I imagine it is even worse in the other areas I mentioned. I know computer science majors without jobs, people with psychology degrees, MBA's, etc all  unemployed. This is exactly what bothers me about all of these negative law school posts. It is not unlike anything else I don't know many times I can say it. Finding a job sucks especially when you are a recent graduate and again that applies GLOBALLY.   
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: john4040 on November 02, 2010, 12:03:27 PM
Well if other degrees even bothered to keep track I counter the argument, but they do not. So I imagine it is even worse in the other areas I mentioned. 

Why don't you quit postulating and find some hard data to support your arguments?  I'm sure there are estimates. 
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 02, 2010, 01:02:01 PM
http://www.forbes.com/2006/08/01/leadership-mba-salary-cx_tw_0801mbacomp.html Here is MBA stats and according to Forbes the "Average" MBA student is making around 100k. I find it hard to believe and there is no regulating body even keeping track of MBA grads. The "average" salary at my tier 4 is 80k, but that is pretty easy to do when you do not report half the people. I am sure MBA schools report the same bloated stats.

http://www.grin.com/e-book/148269/unemployed-mba-graduate-diary. An unempoyed MBA, with no job, and a lot of debt. Sound like a theme we have heard somewhere before?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30622026/ A successful MBA grad who expected to work for a top hedge fund after graduation is instead sleeping on a friend's couch.

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=622597 I should have thrown away my med school application when I did worst decision ever. The stress and etc is not worth it. I would rather be a "LAWYER".  This was a whole thread, but a lawyer does chime in along the way and his post is worth reading.

It took me all of 2 minutes to find these types of articles and I could do one about every single type of degree out there. The bottom line is school is not a guarantee and there are always dissatisfied people in every profession. Finding a job sucks and as I have said a million times I have still yet to meet anybody working in any profession that says man I am so overpaid and underworked. However, if there is a profession that is really easy to get into, pays a lot of money, is always interesting, and will never require me to do something I am not excited about doing PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I will drop law school right away if it exists.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: john4040 on November 02, 2010, 01:30:15 PM
http://www.forbes.com/2006/08/01/leadership-mba-salary-cx_tw_0801mbacomp.html Here is MBA stats and according to Forbes the "Average" MBA student is making around 100k. I find it hard to believe and there is no regulating body even keeping track of MBA grads. The "average" salary at my tier 4 is 80k, but that is pretty easy to do when you do not report half the people. I am sure MBA schools report the same bloated stats.

http://www.grin.com/e-book/148269/unemployed-mba-graduate-diary. An unempoyed MBA, with no job, and a lot of debt. Sound like a theme we have heard somewhere before?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30622026/ A successful MBA grad who expected to work for a top hedge fund after graduation is instead sleeping on a friend's couch.

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=622597 I should have thrown away my med school application when I did worst decision ever. The stress and etc is not worth it. I would rather be a "LAWYER".

The bottom line is school is not a guarantee and there always dissatisfied people in every profession. Finding a job sucks and as I have said a million times I have still yet to meet anybody working in any profession that says man I am so overpaid and underworked.

You're right that there are always dissatisfied people in every profession. However, that doesn't mean that there are more or less jobs in the non-legal sector than there are in the legal sector, or that those looking to break into the legal sector aren't experiencing a completely different type of hardship than those outside of it. 

Hamilton's contention is that there is something special going on within the legal job market - namely, the amount of legal jobs are drying up, there is an excessive supply of lawyers, and the cost of legal education is grossly out of proportion with job prospects.  You keep saying that things are bad for everyone - we agree.  But we are going one step further and suggesting that law is a particularly stupid decision for the reasons I have already stated above.  The stats confirm our sentiments.


Edit:  I just clicked on your second link... no wonder the guy is unemployed - he's a lawyer from India that can't write for sh1t:

"My working experience started out as a lawyer in a leading law firm in India with a great mentor who guided me in the finer skills of arbitration and negotiations and in choosing my law school finally lead me to work in Germany for another leading law firm. Probably my immaturity, learning curiosity and entrepreneurial risk taking appetite led me to join a software company afterwards, to work in a multi cultural German environment in the good old days of the internet bubble and to live through the bubble bursting in 2001. Survival would be one of my strengths along with  etermination and process orientation that have helped me in overcoming barriers that I have faced in my career and in my life."

Even your anecdotal evidence is flawed.. lol.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 02, 2010, 01:46:31 PM
There are problems and I think they should do one of two things. Make admission requirements far higher than they are. As it stands to satisfy U.S. News schools just take someone with a decent GPA in religoius studies or whatever B.S. field of study and a decent LSAT score. Most of the people at any ABA law school are somewhat intelligent regarding tests etc. However, being halfway decent on a MC question is no indication of being a good lawyer, but that is the standard.

So they should require formal interviews at EVERY LAW SCHOOL. Also make it requirement you work in a law office for some set amount of hours maybe 200 that will at least show some type of commitment to the legal profession and knowing what you are getting into. This will get rid of some the typical I graduated college now what oh there is this MC test I can take and then give me 3 more years of not working. Another thing that could be done to prevent this is require you to  take pre-law courses before enrolling to show real dedication to going to law school. Nursing and Medical schools require this and you need to take biology courses etc to get in. Law schools could require you to take 3-4 prelaw classes before even being able to apply. It is way to easy to get into the majority of law schools now and that is a problem. I think MBA's and lot of forms of educations are the same way. The only profession with stringent admission requirements are Medical and Nursing schools and they have better placment. People have more of an idea what they are getting into when they go into this. They can't just take their 4.0 religious studies and nail the MCAT. As I understand the MCAT actually requires you to know hard-facts (I am not sure about that). Where the LSAT you could literally just show up and get a decent score since it is more or less an IQ test.

Law schools should also basically provide you with a free year of clinical experience. They should make a clinic after you pass the bar where you have to work like a residency in the Medical Profession. Something that actually prepares you for real practice of writing motions, fact finding etc. Instead of leaving you knowing about how far the Executive Powers of the President go and putting you in the real world. Those are just some ideas and the whole system could be far more practical and that applies to education everywhere.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: john4040 on November 02, 2010, 01:58:20 PM
There are problems and I said a they should do one of two things. Make admission requirements far higher than they area. As it stands to satisfy U.S. News schools just take someone with a decent GPA in religoius studies or whatever B.S. filed of study and a decent LSAT score. Most of the people at any ABA law school are somewhat intelligent regarding tests etc. However, being halfway decent on a MC question is no indication of being a good lawyer, but that is the standard.

So they should require formal interviews at EVERY LAW SCHOOL. Also make it requirement you work in a law office for some set amount of hours maybe 200 that will at least show some type of commitment to law school. Opposed to the typical I graduated college now what oh there is this MC test I can take and then give me 3 more years of my life. They could make you take pre-law courses before enrolling to show real dedication. Nursing and Medical schools require this and you need to take biology courses etc to get in. Law schools could require you to take 3-4 prelaw classes before even being able to apply. It is way to easy to get into the majority of law schools now and that is a problem. I think MBA's are the same way. The only profession with stringent admission requirements are Medical and Nursing schools and they have better placment.

Law schools should also basically provide you with a free year of clinical experience. They should make a clinic after you pass the bar where you have to work like a residency in the Medical Profession. Something that actually prepares you for real practice of writing motions, fact finding etc. Instead of leaving you knowing about how far the Executive Powers of the President go and putting you in the real world. Those are just some ideas and the whole system could be far more practical and that applies to education everywhere.

I'm going to inject a bit of my own anecdotal evidence here - not as proof of anything in particular, but just to compare and contrast job outcomes of similar individuals, who chose different career paths, and who are currently searching for jobs at the same time and in the same geographical market.

I chose law and my brother chose medicine.  I attended a T2, my brother attended a med school in the Caribbeans.  We both did well at our respective schools.  We are both looking for jobs in the same market.  I have a fed clerkship and, despite all of the networking I have done (CLEs, outings with my judge, Inns of Court, having lunch with partners I know) and cold-letters sent, I have landed several "courtesy interviews" and no job offers.  My brother has completed his internships (non-prestigious) and is currently interviewing for residencies.  He has multiple offers from hospitals that offer on-the-spot contracts for residencies and also include a contractual period to retain him as a doctor following his residency.  Many of his offers stipulate that he is to make in excess of $100,000/yr. after his residency....

Similar individuals who are looking for jobs at the same time and in the same geographical market.  The only difference is that they chose different career paths and, the doctor has infinitely better job prospects - even coming from what is considered the T3 of medical schools and relatively unprestigious internships.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 02, 2010, 02:10:18 PM
True, but he is restricted by his residency and offers as I understanding, but  I could be wrong. I though how it worked this is based on complete hearsay is that you sign a contract for a period of 5 years to finish your residency and you are locked into a salary of 50,000 give or take. He cannot leave this position and his right to get more or less for a period of 5 years is restriced. I would imagine at the end of his residency he gets a solid offer, but he is still somewhat locked into the hosptial.   

The pro or con of being a lawyer is that you can make money right after graduation and you are not required to finish a residency.  The obvious problem is finding clients for yourself or a firm to help you make money.  Still if you are really good at being a lawyer out of the gate you can make some dough and the same is not true of being doctor-again as I understand it base don hearsay. So a J.D. gives you more of a chance for success, but there is also a higher risk of failing miserably.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: john4040 on November 02, 2010, 02:12:10 PM
True, but he is restricted by his residency and offers as I understanding, but  I could be wrong. I though how it worked this is based on complete hearsay is that you sign a contract for a period of 5 years to finish your residency and you are locked into a salary of 50,000 give or take. He cannot leave this position and his right to get more or less for a period of 5 years is restriced. I would imagine at the end of his residency he gets a solid offer, but he is still somewhat locked into the hosptial.   

The pro or con of being a lawyer is that you can make money right after graduation and you are not required to finish a residency.  The obvious problem is finding clients for yourself or a firm to help you make money.  Still if you are really good at being a lawyer out of the gate you can make some dough and the same is not true of being doctor-again as I understand it base don hearsay. So a J.D. gives you more of a chance for success, but there is also a higher risk of failing miserably.

You're right - he's locked into his residency for 3 years at a "low" rate of pay (exactly $45,000 - which is what a significant portion of lawyers are making).  However, he is assured a job at above $100K after that.  I can't exactly say the same for my job prospects.  My clerkship is similar to his residency in that I'm locked in for a term at a set price (a little more than what he's making), but unlike him, I have no guarantees of employment after my clerkship. 

Now you can see why I have serious doubts about the state of the legal profession.  From what I've seen, everything indicates to me that med school - even a Caribbean med school - is an infinitely better bet than any law school T2 and beyond.

Back to the OP.... despite my clerkship, I could be stuck waiting tables with your brother next year - who knows.  I was wise enough not to accrue any student debt and to go to a decent school; however, I seriously fret for the T3 and T4 students attending at full price.  Let this be a lesson to everyone wanting to go to law school... BUYER BEWARE.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 02, 2010, 02:45:22 PM
Maybe, but it is also possible you can get a good job or represent a client and get a ton of money. Lawyers if there good or complete sleazeballs can make a killing. I was just in a settlement conference last week and this 4 attorney firm was going against the firm I was externing and they let me watch. I read the facts and it was a pretty b.s. class action claim who knows if they could even have gotten certified, but the guy got like 50k in attorney's fees in the settlement bam straigh cash. On a b.s. claim to be perfectly honestly from what I saw, but they just wanted to settle. I imagine you can stuff like that in your clerkship where lawyers CAN get a ton of money real fast if they are good enough and get clients. That is really hard and most people don't get it done. A lot of firms are not interested in training a new associate the ropes they want people with their own book of business who can get help them right away. How you get that going well that is tough, but you can.

So the pro to being a lawyer is that you can get a lot of money real fast and somewhat easily. However, that is the exception and you need to b really f***ing good. Handle the pressure, know the situation, blah blah. Even if you do all that you might put in a bunch of work and get 0. The law is a high risk high reward profession. The opposite of med school where it is very difficult and if you just plug through you will get 100k a year job. You will pay of your loans in a 5 or so years with that salary and go on having a decent life. It depends what type of person you are. I am extremely competitive and I have been forced to be through sports my whole life.  That is what I like about the law it is just going after someone and they come right back at you. A lot of times the winner takes all. Obviously you want to avoid litigation because it is generally not in the best interest of the clients, but I love going to those settlement conferences and seeing how they play out. That was just a random sidenote, but something to consider. I think if you really want to be a successful lawyer not that I even will be, but you need to to have a kind of killer instinct in you. Realize nobody is going to hand you jack**** and if you are one of the writers of JDunderground or other such sites there is a reason nobody has scooped you up.  No client or firm would ever want a crybaby lawyer. Who at the settlement conference says how unfair opposing counsel was not very nice to me and didn't encourage me blah. No if you want to be a real lawyer you have real people and real problems and you got handle your sh**. There is no crying in baseball and there is no crying in the law. When you get into it you need to realize that people expect results and NOTHING is guaranteed.

So anyways quite a rant, but my point is that if you want some solid guaranteed career then the law is probably not for you. That sounds like the medical profession you know what you are going to get. The law is a lot more like sports it is highly competitive and nothing is guaranteed you got to hustle and you are only as good as your last performance. I love that kind of stuff, but a lot of people don't.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: john4040 on November 02, 2010, 02:54:23 PM
I don't doubt that the possible upside is greater in law than it is for medicine.  However, in order to reach that upside, you're going to have to gain experience at a firm and you're taking an incredible risk (a risk that reaches new heights every day as new law schools continue to spring up, additional attorneys flood the market, work becomes more scarce, and the price of tuition increases - not to mention that few attorneys actually make the type of profits you're talking about).  If you can't get a legal job, you will never see those kinds of profits. 

You're right about one thing... the risks of going to law school and making great money are HIGH.  So high that you'd probably be better off playing the lottery than going to law school.  If I knew back then (when I decided to go to law school) what I know now, I'm not sure I would have gone to law school.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 02, 2010, 05:29:49 PM
Law school has a lot better odds than the lottery. I bet you in a year or two your tune will change about law school, because odds are you will get a job. Unless you join the JDunderground cohort. Then you will not be happy about law school and the cycle continues. No career offers continuos enjoyment and success. I am sure you were STOKED when you got your Federal Clerkship and rightfully so. It sounds like it is going to come to an end and you will be in the unemployed ranks, which is the scariest place in the world to be. No matter what profession you are in. My one professor in Chico always said looking for a job sucks. It just does nobody likes to write cover letters and go through an interview/interviews it is awful. You are generally going to get rejected several times before you find something. It sucks, but if you keep going you will find another job and be STOKED again. Then lay-offs or a change in heart will come along and you will be disappointed with law school. The cycle will continue and no matter what you did this would the case.  I still have never met anybody that said man I have loved every second of my career and never had a bad moment or wish I would have gone down a different path at some point. I have seen posts were you wrote how much you enjoyed law school and were happy with choice, but now a scary time is coming and it will suck. I am sure you will get out of it though and if you don't go the route of blaming others, or the school, or the ABA, or Sallie Mae, or any of the other numerous things you could point to of being unfair it will work out. 

Hopefully it does work out for me, you, and the OP. The only thing I do know for myself is that no matter what happens I made the decision to go to law school, I choose to stay in law school, I took out loans. Nobody held a gun to my head to do these things and I made a choice for better or worse and I will not blame anybody, but myself if things do not work out.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: oleg1244 on November 03, 2010, 09:12:29 AM
LOL!!!!!! john4040, you got owned
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 03, 2010, 09:33:07 AM
No he didn't. I was not trying to prove him wrong if anything I am trying to be supportive. I graduated from college had a cool six month job that expired looked for work for 7 weeks it was scary and awful and I thought why did I waste all my time getting a college degree. A lot of friends from high school went into construction and were and are doing alright for themselves and I had a piece of paper I spent 4 years getting a d incurred debt to receive. However, I kept going to my undergrads career service and got a job again. It was cool, but working for lawyers and not being one is not for me. I felt like I was on jv instead of varsity and here I am in school again. That same cycle I went through in college is going to happen most likely. Even if I somehow get some big law job right after graduation that pays a ton of money there will be days where I hate my job everyone has that. There were days I hated playing basketball and just wanted to quit, but life is full of ups and downs no matter what you do. None of the problems jd underground or other such sites list are exclusive to law school.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: john4040 on November 03, 2010, 10:08:50 AM
LOL!!!!!! john4040, you got owned

Can you read?

I've essentially been saying that law is a huge gamble - a gamble that has not been worth it from a cost/benefit standpoint.  In order to reach the upside above and beyond the medical field that law CAN (but rarely does) provide, you must overcome increasing tuition, increasing competition, and scarcity of demand.  I'm not sure how Bigs' somewhat speculative and possibly over-optimistic encouragement undermines this argument - but, I do thank him for the encouragement, nonetheless. 

You've already made yourself look incredibly stupid, so, I'll leave you with this little gem of advice for the future:  Sometimes it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 03, 2010, 10:42:00 AM
I really think you need to wait more than a year or so to call your legal career a failure. You are licensed to practice for the rest of your life and over 40 years not 1 you are more than likely to make 100,000 grand based on your j.d. That is the problem with our whole generation everybody just wants things to happen immediately. The simple fact is it cannot happen no matter what you do. I have not to seen to many 26 year old judges or big law partners. All my professors, judges, etc I have met talk about how hard it is to start out. Computer programmers, mbas, basketball coaches, cops, etc all have the same problem. It takes years of work and a lot of failures along the way to succeed in anything. However, if you sit in a corner saying poor me you are not going to get anywhere. It is really easy to complain, but hard to accomplish things.

If you think there are to many lawyers then try another field where there is not even a difficult basic competency rest i.e the bar to screen people out. Compared to other fields J.D holders are somewhat limited. 
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: john4040 on November 03, 2010, 10:54:19 AM
That is the problem with our whole generation everybody just wants things to happen immediately.

The problem isn't that I want something to happen immediately, it's that approximately half of all law school graduates in the US are ending up unemployed, underemployed, or in jobs that they could get without a legal education.  There are way too few entry-level attorney jobs to support the supply that is pushed out every year.  I made - what I believe to be - a mistake.  I base this belief on the fact that my brother has fared incredibly well in his job search relative to my own search.  Although it's too early to tell whether my choice to attend law school will ultimately pay off, there were definitely better (from a cost/benefit standpoint) alternatives available.

I want others to know the truth about the legal market and the legal profession.  I want them to know that law school is becoming more and more of a fool's bet as tuition increases, additional grads are allowed to enter an incredibly over-saturated market, legal work is being outsourced, state bars are increasingly allowing foreigners to get LLMs in the US and sit for the bar, and the ABA is seriously considering allowing foreigners to complete legal education outside the US (which is the equivalent of college in the US) and sit for the bar.  The legal profession is in serious decline.  The decline has been exacerbated by many of the factors I have listed above - factors above and beyond just a "bad economy."  Take note of the decline and decide for yourself - with all available information - whether law school is right for you.  It's definitely not the same legal market that your dad grew up knowing.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: Hamilton on November 03, 2010, 01:12:30 PM
John sums up the issue well in his last post.  The problem is compounded by the ABA and law schools.  The ABA is accrediting more law schools, more law schools are being opened, and law schools keep jacking up tuition from obscene to grossly obscene levels.  The ABA really needs to reign things in - but they wont do that so long as the law school dream is out there and folks keep coming.  Its too bad because more and more lives will be ruined by people taking on 6-figure debt that they will not be able to pay back in any reasonable manner.  Hard to begin a life when you are in a very deep hole.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 03, 2010, 01:56:29 PM
I don't disagree with any of that. I in no way expected to be making 6 figures after graduating from GGU. I really think the real disservice is U.S. News. I thank god everyday I did not go to Michigan State paying full tuition and being stuck in Michigan to go to a tier 2 school instead of a tier 4 with a huge scholarship. To any potential student do not take these rankings seriously nobody cares if you go to the 72nd or 112th best school get out AS CHEAP AS POSSIBLE. If you are lucky enough to want to practice in a state that has in-state tuition schools go. Go to CUNY at 10k a year opposed to New York Law School where you pay 40k. Nobody cares that NYLS is tier 2 & CUNY is tier 4. You either go to an ELITE SCHOOL that is a school that EVERYBODY KNOWS I.E. Harvard or Yale and a few other ELITE SCHOOLS. Otherwise take scholarship money it is well worth it in my opinion. As long as U.S. News continues ot pump out these retarded rankings a lot more peoploe going to be disappointed. I have given the example that I knew now 9 students that transferred from GGU who had basically full scholarships for their 2L year to go to tier 2 schools USF, Santa Clara, and Hastings. They ended up in firms working alongside their 1L section mates, but had 70k more in debt to payoff. People follow these U.S. rankings, which absoulty no basis and trick students into thinking that if they go to the 53rd best school the floodgates will open. However, there are only a few schools that will have firms crowding the career service office and that is Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and a few others. Otherwise nobody cares if you are 62 or 132. The career service office is not going to be flooded with firms at USF, Gonzaga, Hofstra, etc. You are either ELITE or your not at the end of the day, but U.S. News continues to rack in money by ranking anything you can possibly imagine and tricking young scared students.

One other additonal thing all schools everywhere are increasing their tuition. Education everywhere is becoming more and more of a rip-off and Congress or someone should jump in and make schools justify their ridiculous increases every year. Once your in a school if they jack up tuition you can't even do anything. The whole system seems to violate the Sherman Act to me, because you can't even do anything. You have to get an education to have any chance really, but they keep jacking up prices and this applies to everything.

Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: oleg1244 on November 03, 2010, 03:10:01 PM
bigs5068,
My law advisor told me that going to McGeorge puts you in a much better position for a job than GGU when comparing for example, two students with similar class standing. Do you agree with that? Would a firm choose a McGeorge candidate over a GGU candidate if they have similar class standing?
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 03, 2010, 09:31:48 PM
Yea that is true, but the law advisor needs to look a lot deeper.  My law advisor gave me the same advice go to the best school you can possibly get into and that is absolutely true if Harvard or Stanford is an option, but that is terrible advice for the majority of people with a 155 160 on their LSAT.  The simple fact is nobody is going to be that impressed by McGeorge or GGU. It is going to be up to you to secure placement and unless you finish at the top 20% at either school nobody is going to be tracking you down and even then probably not. Also do not forget there is an 80% chance you will not finish in the top 20%. No offense to your intelligence, but 100% of students think they are going to be in the top 10% and although I am no math major even I can see how that will play out.

There are pros and cons to each school. The main reason in this instance I would choose GGU is the matter of cost. They are both outrageously priced McGeorge at 38k and GGU at 36K. However, with your numbers I would ballpark a 25k scholarship for you at GGU. So you will pay 11k in tuition money opposed to McGeorge where you may or may not get a 5k scholarship based on what I have seen on lawschoolnumbers. So you will pay 33K a year in the best case scenario 38k at worst.

GGU 11K a year McGeorge 33k x  3years=

So odds are 33K in tuition over three years at GGU opposed to 99k from McGeorge or 114k if you don't get the 5k scholarship over 3 years at McGeorge.

Cost of living in SF is much higher so maybe you will take out 40k in grad plus loans over three years. I don't know your lifestyle opposed to maybe 30k for McGeorge for living over three years. If you work at all during 2nd or 3rd year to can minimize this debt a bit and I strongly recommend doing that.

So end of J.D. cost 73K from GGU or 130K from McGeorge best case scenario or 145k worse case: 57K best case or 72k worse case more in Debt at McGeorge. That is a big number to pay off. So you have to ask yourself is going to a tier 2 school worth 70k more than a tier 4?? In my opinion I do not think so especially considering from either school you are going to have to fight to get a job. As I said McGeorge or GGU is not going to wow anyone.

Another plus for GGU or the Bay Area School in general is better professors. The reality is nobody wants to live in Sacramento top professors choose to live in San Francisco. There are exceptions, but in the Bay Area the same professors that teach at Berkley, Hastings, USF, Santa Clara, teach at GGU. We no joke have the same professors and if you need to prove of that. Look no further than the Bay Area Consortium of law schools this includes all of those schools above and you can take classes at Berkley, USF, Hastings or Santa Clara if you want. So you literally would get the same education, but you do not even need to leave the GGU campus to get the same professors at those schools, because they come to us.  Look them up Peter Keane, Jon Sylvester, both F***ing awesome by the way there are other guys Michael Zamperrini, Marc Greenberg and a whole list of others who I have not taken yet, but they teach at our school and those ones as well. So the quality of professors is generally higher in the Bay Area, because it attracts better people.  Most people would choose the Bay over Sacramento sorry to offend anybody, but that is generally true.  This Bay Area Consortium also allows you to use other schools employment websites and I have had 3 OCI interviews at Hastings this far.

Now one huge reason to go to McGeorge is if you want to live in Sacramento. If you have family etc and want to live in Sacramento or work for the California Government then no better place to be than the Capital of California. Otherwise I really do not think it is worth the extra 50-70kk in tuition you will pay at McGeorge.

So while it is true if you finish in the top 17% at McGeorge or GGU you might have more options, but again nobody is going to be bend over backwards for a McGeorge or GGU grad. So get out as cheaply as possible. Another thing to think about although I hate to say it is that the competition will probably be easier at GGU than at McGeorge. People with lower stats attend GGU than McGeorge although the difference is somewhat nominal 3-4 points on the LSAT, but still it is something. So your chances of finishing in the top 10% at GGU would be better than at McGeorge. If you finish in the top 10% at any ABA school your chances are good.


One word of caution about GGU is the 3.0 scholarship requirement. I do not know if McGeorge has this and you need to maintain a 3.0 to maintain your scholarship a 3.0 in law school is nothing like it is in college. If you lose your scholarship for the second and third year then a lot of what I said is made moot. So that is a gamble, but if you work hard you can probably maintain the scholarship, but the reality is there is no way to know how you will do in law school.

Quite a rant, but hopefully those facts are somewhat helpful. Also do remember I am only a second year law student and take what I say with a major grain of salt. I still have a lot to learn about everything and the law advisor and others are  likely much more knowledgeable than me, but I think what I listed above our are relevant factors to consider.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: MEMEMEME on November 06, 2010, 10:57:45 PM
That is the problem with our whole generation everybody just wants things to happen immediately.

The problem isn't that I want something to happen immediately, it's that approximately half of all law school graduates in the US are ending up unemployed, underemployed, or in jobs that they could get without a legal education.  There are way too few entry-level attorney jobs to support the supply that is pushed out every year.  I made - what I believe to be - a mistake.  I base this belief on the fact that my brother has fared incredibly well in his job search relative to my own search.  Although it's too early to tell whether my choice to attend law school will ultimately pay off, there were definitely better (from a cost/benefit standpoint) alternatives available.

I want others to know the truth about the legal market and the legal profession.  I want them to know that law school is becoming more and more of a fool's bet as tuition increases, additional grads are allowed to enter an incredibly over-saturated market, legal work is being outsourced, state bars are increasingly allowing foreigners to get LLMs in the US and sit for the bar, and the ABA is seriously considering allowing foreigners to complete legal education outside the US (which is the equivalent of college in the US) and sit for the bar.  The legal profession is in serious decline.  The decline has been exacerbated by many of the factors I have listed above - factors above and beyond just a "bad economy."  Take note of the decline and decide for yourself - with all available information - whether law school is right for you.  It's definitely not the same legal market that your dad grew up knowing.

On Preptest 37, there is an RC passage about how people are willing to take bigger risks to recoupe or prevent further losses. They don't care if there is a high likelihood of failure, because they feel they must do it. Without going into detail, this is what I am experiencing and I am sure what a lot of people experience to a lesser extent when they pursue a graduate degree during a recession. Also, all this naysaying and negativity seems to come from the young people. Not one older lawyer or other person in the legal profession who I have told that I am applying to law school told me it was a bad idea. People may say that this is because everything was different when they were starting out and they are financially secure because of experience, etc.; but I look at it is as they have a more rounded view of life and its cycles.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 07, 2010, 01:41:00 PM
I don't even know if going to law school results in a high likelihood of failure. You will need to start a career, which will require you to start at the bottom. Believe it or not even Steve Jobs & Bill Gates did not become overnight billioners they were working in a garage working towards something. They did not waste their time blogging about how unfair it was instead worked towards something that had no guarantee of success. It takes years to build a career or anything worth doing. Going through 3 years of school does not entitle you to anything it is the bare minimum you can possibly to do to become part of the legal profession. Note the bare minimum law school and life is competitive and doing the bare minimum is not going to get you anything.  If you go to law school it will take years to become a successful lawyer and just having a J.D. is not going to entitle you to anything. It will give you the opportunity to enter the legal profession and then it is up to you what you do with that opportunity. If you bi**h and moan when the slightest challenge comes your way do not go to law school. If you can suck it up and get through tough times and kick your own ass to get things done then go for it.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: BikePilot on November 08, 2010, 05:23:25 PM
I'm not sure that's really true.  Pretty much everyone I graduated with went either straight to highly desirably government jobs (DOJ honors, Fed Cir. clerkships, permanent DOJ positions etc), similarly fancy public interest stuff or biglaw (of course there are some exceptions, but all I'm aware of were by choice). Its certainly not an entitlement, but it also doesn't take years to be a successful lawyer (depending on how you define successful). Everyone seemed super motivated and worked extremely hard - to get into school, to get through school and to find jobs after school (well, this was done during school, but you get the idea).  The point is, it doesn't have to take years, though it likely will take some diligence and work, a little bit of which on the front end might save years of drudgery on the back end.  If by "successful lawyer" you mean become a partner, give oral argument at the supreme court, get appointed justice or something like that then yeah, you might have to wait a few years :)
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 09, 2010, 09:40:57 AM
So your telling me that people who work hard in school, then work hard to find jobs can actually succeed? That doesn't seem to make any sense I thought you kicked it for three years in school and then passed the bar. You are then supposed to wait as job offers flow to you. It is pretty common knowledge that if you pass the bar you have qualifications that no other lawyer has ::). I mean you are special and should not be required to put in any work to find a job after passing the bar. Then if somehow nobody realizes how special you are for passing the bar and job offers don't come in you sue your law school. 

I don't know BikePilot This whole logic of working hard in school, working to find a job while in school, and having some sort of set goals for yourself seems like a lot of work. I thought the proper way to succeed was  go to a school put in a decent effort to get ok grades, then avoid any type of practical legal experience while in school,  take practical  classes like refugee law, international armed conflicts law, etc and then go get drunk in some study abroad  programs both of your law school summers. Then compose yourself sufficiently for a few months to pass the bar and wolaa  the job offers come flocking.  Then if you are one of those poor unfortunate souls that has to apply to a few jobs give it a week or two.  If after two weeks things don't go your way then blame everybody in sight, but yourself. Sue your law school or build a website like JDunderground mention things  like nothing in the schools brochure mentioned you might have to put some effort in to find work. How could I when accepted to X law school as a 23-26 year old college graduate who wrote a personal statement saying how great & responsible I was be held accountable for my decisions & actions. That is just ludicrous it is very important when things don't go your way you blame everybody else and steer clear of any type of accountability.
Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: Hamilton on November 09, 2010, 11:43:41 AM
See?  There you go again with the presumption of this sense of entitlement out there - it is just not so - you are just flat-out wrong when you do that!  It is not a valid argument or counter to negative information or opinions.  Everyone seems to agree that law school is too expensive, employment stats are bogus, that there is a degree of risk attending law school, and that folks thinking about law school must do their due dilligence to decide whether it is right for them - yet when anyone posts factual negative information that might actually help someone gain perspective when doing their due dilligence they are derided and mocked with this bogus 'entitlement, 6-figure, job falling in the lap' baloney.  Folks should do their due dilligence, so long as they are shielded from negative informtion or opinions?

So your telling me that people who work hard in school, then work hard to find jobs can actually succeed? That doesn't seem to make any sense I thought you kicked it for three years in school and then passed the bar. You are then supposed to wait as job offers flow to you. It is pretty common knowledge that if you pass the bar you have qualifications that no other lawyer has ::). I mean you are special and should not be required to put in any work to find a job after passing the bar. Then if somehow nobody realizes how special you are for passing the bar and job offers don't come in you sue your law school. 

Title: Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
Post by: bigs5068 on November 09, 2010, 12:18:21 PM
I know I take it to far sometimes. The simple fact is the law is competitive and I think everyone at any ABA school is smart, motivated, and hard working. They all put in a lot of work, but being smart & working hard does mean anything positive will happen. The real world is just competitive and I think the schools don't give accurate information. At the same time I don't expect them to they are a business and they need students to survive. They provide you with the opportunity to be a lawyer, but no school guarantees you will succeed. That Jack guy gave a post that overconfidence is the biggest flaw all these students have. That is true I mean before you start school you assume you will be in the top 10% of the class and yea maybe some people don't find job, but that kind of thing won't happen to me. However, 100% of incoming students think that. It is competitive and so is every profession out there. The world is not fair and it never has been. I am sure every school in America would love to see their student's succeed, but they can't. Not everyone can be a superstar, star, or even mediocre. So the real world is not fair, competitive, and hard. Those are plain simple facts and if you go into the legal profession life will be more competitive, harder, and even less fair. If as a grown man you make the decision to go into the legal profession be ready for life to get harder. If as a grown man or woman  you choose to go into the legal profession it is a choice you made and don't bi*** and moan about the choice you made as a grown educated adult. Instead take accountability for your actions and simple fact is law school is not the right choice for everyone and there is no way to know if it would work out. If I had a crystal ball for huge decisions I have made in my life up to this point I probably would have done some things differently, but I don't. So do your due diligence before going to law school. It is not a guarantee of success and U.S. News is a scam and the schools will misreport information. Businesses which both U.S. News & Law schools are  misreport information and use puffery to sell a product. If some misreported information is the worst thing that has happened to you then you probably have not lived enough.

A way to do your due diligence is to look at lawschooltransparency.com.  This site gives accurate salary information and shows many students are not accounted for.  I suggest any 0L look at it.