Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Choosing the Right Law School => Topic started by: aglittman on November 21, 2011, 11:14:28 PM

Title: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: aglittman on November 21, 2011, 11:14:28 PM
Before applying to law school, please read the following:

I graduated from a top 50 law school last May in the middle of my class, passed my stateís bar exam, and Iíve been having incredible difficulty just finding legal jobs that I can apply to.  Iím certainly not alone, as about half my graduating class is still unemployed.  There is so much press coverage about the shortage of legal jobs, I canít understand why flocks are still enrolling in law school. 

I strongly urge you (because I wish someone would have urged me before I went to law school):  if there is ANYTHING that excites you other than law, go do it instead of law school. 

Please, before you start 1L, understand what you are getting into.  With the exception of going to a T-14 school, chances are good that you will have extreme difficulty landing a job.  And even if you do land a job after graduation, chances are pretty good you wonít be that happy or be making that much money (only the top top students get 6 figure jobs).

Law schools are money-makers just as much as they are educational institutions.  Donít trust each schoolís published employment statistics, as so many are fraudulent.  For example, my school claimed that the average starting salary for 2010 graduates was $92,000, but very fine print at the bottom of the page stated that that was only based on 45% of the class reporting. 

Going to law school was honestly the worst mistake of my life, and I hope you donít make the same mistake as me.    

If you have any individual questions, I will happily respond to them.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: FalconJimmy on November 22, 2011, 06:38:24 AM
A good cautionary tale.  Hope things turn up for you.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: bigs5068 on November 22, 2011, 02:52:24 PM
Agree with pretty much everything you said, but I always ask what educational institution isn't a money maker. This is not law school alone, but nurses, pilots, cops, teachers, and so on have a very difficult time starting their career.  Lawyers are not alone in.

Schools also misreport their information good old puffery, but if you read between the lines of any school you can see that many of there students did not report. They could do a better job disclosing for sure, but if you look at almost any schools stats you will see that many didn't report. lawschooltransparency.com does a good job of reporting the real fact.

Your point also goes to show the ridiculousness of U.S. News you graduated from a Top 50 school and many law students think it really means something, but U.S. is News is nothing more than a for private magazine offering complete B.S. and your top 50 school could easily be 80th in a year or so. Their formula makes absolutely no sense and is based on people across the country filling out scantrons numbering between 1-5. As a result of this absurd magainze and formula like the current 11 way tie for 84th place. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+4  (Direct from U.S. News)

To my main point I would wait a few years before saying law school is the worst mistake of your life. Education is a long-term investment and it almost never pays off right away. Many people have posted on this board and others saying your exact sentiment only to later find a job.

I will also tell you a recent story. I play on a Bar League basketball team and I go out with the lawyers afterwards and they all tell me the same story and they went to schools ranging from T14 to Tier 4. They all say it sucked to start out they were taking odd jobs to make money and so on, but they eventually got in the field and are doing well everyone one of them, but it was a huge struggle. Although one guy did go to the 2L summer associate job full time offer at graduation and the person was not a T14 grad.

However, I totally get the fear of finding that first job, bills coming in, uncertainty, all of it, but this does not apply to law school alone it applies to almost every profession out there.  With that being said I'm willing to bet in 3 years you will sing a different tune. Remember how long 3 years is you were in your first day of law school then and as you know a lot can change in three years. . So before saying it the absolute worst thing that ever happened give it some time. I am willing to bet things will turn around for you. Well good luck and for everyone's sake I hope I am right.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: justanothersucker on November 22, 2011, 05:11:58 PM
My point exactly. So why transfer into a "higher tier" lawschool if "half your class" is still unemployed.

Question: have you even tried JAG or public attorney?
Is the soup kitchen food that much better than the chow halls?

Before applying to law school, please read the following:

I graduated from a top 50 law school last May in the middle of my class, passed my stateís bar exam, and Iíve been having incredible difficulty just finding legal jobs that I can apply to.  Iím certainly not alone, as about half my graduating class is still unemployed.  There is so much press coverage about the shortage of legal jobs, I canít understand why flocks are still enrolling in law school. 

I strongly urge you (because I wish someone would have urged me before I went to law school):  if there is ANYTHING that excites you other than law, go do it instead of law school. 

Please, before you start 1L, understand what you are getting into.  With the exception of going to a T-14 school, chances are good that you will have extreme difficulty landing a job.  And even if you do land a job after graduation, chances are pretty good you wonít be that happy or be making that much money (only the top top students get 6 figure jobs).

Law schools are money-makers just as much as they are educational institutions.  Donít trust each schoolís published employment statistics, as so many are fraudulent.  For example, my school claimed that the average starting salary for 2010 graduates was $92,000, but very fine print at the bottom of the page stated that that was only based on 45% of the class reporting. 

Going to law school was honestly the worst mistake of my life, and I hope you donít make the same mistake as me.    

If you have any individual questions, I will happily respond to them.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: blue54 on November 23, 2011, 01:04:19 PM
Aglittman: I completely agree with you. I posted something similar to this vein on this forum a couple of weeks ago. I graduated in May at top 25% of my class at a T2 school that has a very strong name in the state it is located. I have also clerked for a mid size law firm for nearly 2 years (unfortunately, they couldn't hire me on, as the legal market is, well, you know, absolutely atrocious). I passed my state's bar exam, so here I sit, sending out resumes every day, going to bar functions, doing anything I can to "network" and make connections. For all of those considering law school, let me break down where you stand as a lawyer:

0-2 years: you are a newbie. You have no experience and no one wants to hire you. The best way to get hired at this stage is at OCI, but if you don't go to a T14 school, your school's OCI will suck and basically most of the firms that show up are just resume collecting anyways. Now you have sunk 150K into a degree, an additional 5K to take a bar review course and pass the bar, and now you are struggling just to land a job that pays 35K/year. Every position you apply to is flooded with resumes of those who are in your shoes, and, more importantly, there are hundreds of resumes of those lawyers who do have experience and thus do not need any training. Why would a firm sink time and money into you when they have someone who already has litigation experience willing to do the same job at the same price?  Not even doc review recruiters want to touch you, because you don't have doc review experience.

2-4 years: you are somewhat more marketable. You have most likely gained trial preparation experience, some litigation experience, and, more importantly, you have practiced in front of judges in the area. You can easily take the jobs those that have 0-2 years experience are fighting for. Although it pays crap, it still pays, and you have loan principle that is due.

3-6 years: now we are talking.  Recruiters start calling you.  You are beginning to specialize in areas of law that make you marketable.  Six figure jobs are on the horizon.  You may still work 70 hours per week, but now you are more comfortable doing so.

6+ years: you can apply to most of the employment ads out there and be satisfied that you will have a shot at getting an interview.  Recruiters will contact you as well.

*Note: these facts were given to me after I spoke with a recruiter over the phone. I did not make all of this up.

Sure, once you have 6 years under your belt, you are an attorney, making good money, and you can look back and say it was all worth it. But the problem is that you can't even get to that 6 year mark now because the jobs to get there just don't exist. They aren't there. Trust me. After sending out over 100 resumes and getting a few worthless interviews where the jobs went to those with more experience, I have some authority on this subject. Go get a degree or certification in something worthwhile, such as medicine or engineering.  Who cares if you don't have an interest in it, because it pays, and in the end, it is the person who can put food on his table that will be happiest. It is miserable living off your parents when you are 26 and can't land even an interview for a job that starts you at 35K (oh, but you have a J.D., so that makes it all worth it, right? Not.) And no matter what any idiot on this forum tells you, you will fall into this unemployed category. You will not be happy. You will not land a good paying job unless you have a connection, or you go to a T14 school and graduate top of your class. 10 years ago, you could work your way to the top. That isn't the case now. It is bad out there. I spoke with one partner at a firm who suggested I start delivering pizzas to help pay the bills while I continue searching for a job.  This was after I took the partner out to lunch to try and "network" with him like my useless career services told me to do. Awesome. At least he received a free lunch out of the meeting.

Oh, and the best part of it all?  What pizza company/any company other than a law firm is going to hire a licensed attorney? They know you are going to quit as soon as something better comes up.  So you go ahead and remove it from your resume.  Good luck explaining a 3 year employment gap.

I went to a bar function last month. Half of us were new attorneys (about 15 of us). There we were, standing around like jackasses handing out our business cards to anyone who gave us a curious look. Have I heard anything back? No. None of us have. We have nothing to offer a firm. They want attorneys with experience. When you get out of law school, you have nothing but debt.

Seriously, find another profession. Preferably, one that isn't dying.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: justanothersucker on November 23, 2011, 02:06:19 PM
For all the complainers out there, how many have even tried applying to the FBI for work untill "the economy gets better"?

I bet none. One example out of many folks.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: bigs5068 on November 23, 2011, 02:13:18 PM
Finding a job always has been and always will be hard. This does not apply to law school alone.

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/millions-of-workers-zero-jobs-1322006105-slideshow/;_ylt=AlAuRM6pvV2RSGBEpSirbebNt.d_;_ylu=X3oDMTRkcWFsNzQ1BG1pdANQb2xpdGljcyBGZWF0dXJlZCBMZWZ0IFJhaWwEcGtnA2RkZDNhNzlhLWJkMTUtMzhlZC05OTFiLWY4NzVkNzAyYjI0NQRwb3MDMwRzZWMDTWVkaWFGZWF0dXJlZExpc3QEdmVyA2QzNGRjZDE4LTE1NjUtMTFlMS1iMTE4LTNiN2JhMzAxNGFhYg--;_ylg=X3oDMTNoYXVxYXFkBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDODY2NGFhOGMtMDljMS0zODY3LWFjYjItYjczNjg3NzI4NDkzBHBzdGNhdANwb2xpdGljc3xkZXN0aW5hdGlvbjIwMTIEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdlBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Just some photos, but it was on Yahoo first page. It sucks to find a job whether your an architect, nurse, pilot, lawyer, cop, firefighter, it is freaking hard. Going to architecture school, flight school, nursing school none of it is cheap. Don't choose your profession based on the "supposed" money your going to make, because odds you will struggle choose the profession you will enjoy. I guarantee you at some point in your life you will get a job. Then you likely never post on lawschooldiscussion again. The economy is not great for lawyers or anybody right now, but this is the not first time there has been an economic downturn. Money will be around again then s*** will hit the fan again. I am sure both of you will be literally be shocked and the world would be if by the year 2021 you have not worked a single day. It sucks and I know for a fact I will be in the same situation in a few months if I pass the bar.

I know one person that failed the bar 3 times. They found a job in the meantime and finally passed, but it was a long hard road. Be thankful you have passed the bar it is a big accomplishment and you are a lot better off than many people that didn't pass. Have patience and I would be bet a lot of money that in 10 years you will have at least worked one day in a legal job. Hopefully I am right and I agree with a lot of your points law school is a long, expensive, and difficult road with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. If you go to law school expecting anything to be handed to go to school for anything then you will be waiting around for a long time. Finding a job sucks.

I really think law schools or any school should make you earn how much your borrowing before they let you enroll in school. I don't know how many undergrad-straight to law school or some other grad school I have met and things do not work out for awhile. School is nothing like the real world and you should have to work at least a year or two before going into any form of grad school. I would strongly agree if they imposed that requirement on incoming students.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: FalconJimmy on November 23, 2011, 02:36:14 PM
Sucker, what universe do you live in?  FBI jobs are highly competitive. 
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: blue54 on November 23, 2011, 04:10:41 PM
Read this article from the NY Times. It was published last week. If there's any doubt that law school is a terrible, awful choice right now, this article will get rid of it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/business/after-law-school-associates-learn-to-be-lawyers.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general

"Altogether, the top 250 firms ó which hired 27 percent of graduates from the top 50 law schools last year ó have lost nearly 10,000 jobs since 2008, according to an April survey by The National Law Journal."

This is the problem with arguing: people like to use personal anecdotal evidence or opinion over facts.  The "I know someone who got a job right out of law school" story is used repeatedly, and yet there are actual, objective facts such as the one I just posted from a credible source that states hiring in essentially non-existent in this legal market. Google it for yourself, this article is just one of many written by the Times, Wall Street Journal, etc. who are all documenting the monumental downshift in the legal market, and how the law schools are hiding these facts while raising tuition.  I have not seen a single similar article about nursing or engineering. In fact, engineering and healthcare are in the top 6 of degrees that employers demand right now:

http://education.yahoo.net/articles/six_in_demand_degrees.htm

Will you automatically get a job with an engineering degree? No, you need to go to a reputable school and have high grades. But the differences between this and law school is that (1) it costs much less (2) the starting salary is much higher (3) four years of school versus 7 (4) no bar exam and (5) there is a market to be hired in.  While some engineers are being hired and some nurses are being hired, no attorneys are being hired.

It's bad out there. Don't go join the slaughter. Get a degree that is in demand, that costs so much less, that takes less time to get. They do exist, and you will be happier for it.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: bigs5068 on November 23, 2011, 04:38:58 PM

Numerous Articles about how Nurses, MBA's, Architects can't find jobs. Two second google search type in Profession X no jobs and you will see a slew of articles.

Nurses Can't find Job Articles. 
[/b]
1)http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-07-09-1Anurses09_ST_N.htm
2)http://nursingcrib.com/news-blog/why-graduates-cant-get-a-job/

MBA's cant find jobs
1) http://www.diaryofanunemployedmba.blogspot.com/
2) http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/oct2009/bs20091029_862211.htm

Architects Can't find jobs
1) http://archinect.com/forum/thread/12306014/it-s-not-just-architecture-grads

This is just an article about every recent grad between 22-26 unable to find work

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_42/b4151032038302.htm

So no it is not just law schools it is everything. The job market is hard and it always has been, but now everybody can click on google and find someone else to complain with them. Starting a career is terrifying and no form of education trains you how to be a professional as soon as you graduate just the way it is.

As for expense look the tuition at these places is the same as law school

Undergraduate tuition for enginneering from USC a reputable  school 21,000 per semester x 8 semesters= 168,000 in tuition alone.

http://www.usc.edu/academics/classes/term_20113/tuition_and_fees.html

Engineering is expensive and there is no guarantee of a job there.

Nursing at University of Pacfici decent school in California 17k per semester http://www.pacific.edu/Campus-Life/Student-Services/Student-Accounts/Stockton-Tuition-and-Fees.html

So 34k per year right on part with law school tuition.

I agree with most of what your saying, but my point is law school is not much different than anything else. Education is expensive, it does not guarantee you a job, if you go to Harvard, Yale, Stanford for anything you will have more doors open to you.

Or maybe your right and law school is the only thing that is expensive and jobs can't be found. I have a lot of non-lawyer friends who say the same thing about their degree, but maybe they are just complaining and law students are the only ones that really have it tough.

Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: justanothersucker on November 23, 2011, 07:15:10 PM
Thus one of many options.  Not trying due to fear (or plain laziness) basicly proves my point.

Sucker, what universe do you live in?  FBI jobs are highly competitive.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: legalpractitioner on November 23, 2011, 08:19:02 PM
Why is anyone entitled to a job? You have a license to practice, get off you lazy behinds and go to work. Take a weekend seminar, buy some practice books and you are good to go with
Social Security Disability, Workers Comp, or Immigration. Go hang out at the courts and pick up the conflict public defender cases, juvenile or child custody cases nobody wants.
You will do a Hell of a lot better for people and society in general than at some law firm catering to corporations and the fees start to roll ion after a while.  The work is also 100% more interesting.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: GGI on November 25, 2011, 09:19:35 AM
Also, one of the advantages of becoming an attorney is that you can set up on your own, and don't have to look necessarily for a "job".
I know of quite a few people who have started out on their own and are doing quite well.
Of course it helps if you do not have big student loans to repay, and you can keep your costs to a minimum by working from home at least initially.
When eventually you do find a job, you can always pass your book of clients to a colleague if you do not wish to retain them.
Title: Attorney Jobs California
Post by: Pegeg12 on April 06, 2013, 02:42:44 AM
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Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: lawyurd on April 06, 2013, 07:10:27 AM
There is also the option of joining the military and being a JAG.  This is a great option that I think many on these forums overlook.  Some of my friends were JAGs and they liked their job.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: Duncanjp on April 06, 2013, 11:04:29 AM
Given the current state of the legal field, it's certainly risky to enroll in law school if one does not have a clear purpose for doing so.

A Terrible Purpose
"I want to be a lawyer because my favorite TV shows are courtroom dramas."

A Better Purpose
"I have spent five years in [insert field] and a law degree would advance my career in that field."
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: jack24 on April 09, 2013, 04:54:46 PM
There is also the option of joining the military and being a JAG.  This is a great option that I think many on these forums overlook.  Some of my friends were JAGs and they liked their job.

Some of your friends were JAG?  How long ago?  Do you have any idea how hard it is to land a JAG gig now?   They get like 100 strong applicants for every position.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: lawyurd on April 09, 2013, 06:07:14 PM
There is also the option of joining the military and being a JAG.  This is a great option that I think many on these forums overlook.  Some of my friends were JAGs and they liked their job.

Some of your friends were JAG?  How long ago?  Do you have any idea how hard it is to land a JAG gig now?   They get like 100 strong applicants for every position.


I've been out of the Marines since December 2009.   I'm not sure how hard it was to land a JAG position for them.  I know at least 3 of them actually went to law school while in the Marine Corps, so they got promoted faster even though we started training at the same time.   I mean want to say that each class had 6 spots for future JAGs and there were 6 classes a year.   

Officer Candidate School weeds out a lot of people.  My OCS class had a 48% retention,  not sure how many of them were lawyers.   Lots of people can't handle the physical demands of the Marine Corps and OCS is even tougher than enlisted boot camp.  The Marines also have programs that active duty members can apply for that they send you to law school and that's your job for 3 years,  you just have to graduate, pass the bar and then owe 5 years to the Corps.  I had a friend qualify for that program but I don't think she graduated since she works for Amazon now as a recruiter.   

Sorry for being all over the map here, I'll talk Marine Corps all day.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: Duncanjp on April 09, 2013, 10:26:51 PM
I've been out of the Marines since December 2009.   I'm not sure how hard it was to land a JAG position for them.  I know at least 3 of them actually went to law school while in the Marine Corps, so they got promoted faster even though we started training at the same time.   I mean want to say that each class had 6 spots for future JAGs and there were 6 classes a year.   

Officer Candidate School weeds out a lot of people.  My OCS class had a 48% retention,  not sure how many of them were lawyers.   Lots of people can't handle the physical demands of the Marine Corps and OCS is even tougher than enlisted boot camp.  The Marines also have programs that active duty members can apply for that they send you to law school and that's your job for 3 years,  you just have to graduate, pass the bar and then owe 5 years to the Corps.  I had a friend qualify for that program but I don't think she graduated since she works for Amazon now as a recruiter.   

Sorry for being all over the map here, I'll talk Marine Corps all day.

Semper fi, Lawyurd.

In my con law class last night, we were discussing how difficult it is to hold down a career position during the day while putting oneself through law school at night. I remarked that my four years in the Marine Corps was a cakewalk compared to the four-year madhouse of law school. Of course, that isn't really true, but it feels like it sometimes.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: jack24 on April 10, 2013, 09:06:43 AM

Sorry for being all over the map here, I'll talk Marine Corps all day.

No problem.  That is good information.   I would just submit that it's much harder to get a JAG position if you are in law school and have no prior relationship with the military.   I know one student from my school who landed a JAG position with the Army, but he managed to do ROTC while he was in law school.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: lawyurd on April 10, 2013, 10:47:10 AM

Sorry for being all over the map here, I'll talk Marine Corps all day.

No problem.  That is good information.   I would just submit that it's much harder to get a JAG position if you are in law school and have no prior relationship with the military.   I know one student from my school who landed a JAG position with the Army, but he managed to do ROTC while he was in law school.

ROTC definitely helps.  I would say that a Marine JAG is one of the hardest lawyer jobs to get.  First you have to make it through OCS (varies from 6 weeks to 10 weeks depending on your option) then make it through The Basic School (TBS is typically 6 months unless you get injured like I did) and then you go to the military law school ( not sure how long it is but it is ABA as well).  It can be a long process as you can see and you have to pass each school.  Not only do you need to be physically fit but you also have to prove you can lead Marines in a combat situation if the need ever arises.  It's not easy but most of the lawyers I met did very well at TBS. 
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: IrrX on April 10, 2013, 12:17:11 PM
One of the posters here a couple years ago--active duty Navy, Annapolis grad--tried to get into JAG and wasn't accepted. It's incredibly hard to get in.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: vuarnet on April 11, 2013, 10:01:19 AM
Meanwhile, I put stock in my contrarian perspective. With all of this terrific rhetoric of dismal job prospects and oversaturation and hyper-competition (overblown if you ask me, ALL jobs are competitive), my thought is that a decrease in law school graduates in the next couple years will create a relative stagnation / deficiency that will work well for my timing (applying this year, to graduate about 4 years from now).

Just in time for me to hit the market.

"When there is blood on the street, buy real estate."
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: jack24 on April 11, 2013, 11:05:50 AM
Meanwhile, I put stock in my contrarian perspective. With all of this terrific rhetoric of dismal job prospects and oversaturation and hyper-competition (overblown if you ask me, ALL jobs are competitive), my thought is that a decrease in law school graduates in the next couple years will create a relative stagnation / deficiency that will work well for my timing (applying this year, to graduate about 4 years from now).

Just in time for me to hit the market.

"When there is blood on the street, buy real estate."

Really?  Except, unfortunately, the legal industry isn't really adding that many jobs per year and very few lawyers are retiring.  It's possible that we'll see many more bow out in the 2020's, but not that many people went to law school 35-40 years ago.  Also, attorneys are working later in life.

Additionally, there are still 52,000 applicants to ABA law schools for fall of 2013.  http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/three-year-volume.asp

Here are the number of ABA Applications per year since fall of 2008.  82,000, 85,600, 87,500, 78,800, 68,000 and currently 52,000 for 2013 (will still go up a bit)
Here are the admitted applicants numbers: 55,500, 58,400, 60,400, 55,800, 2013 TBD.
http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/lsac-volume-summary.asp

It seems likely that the number of new lawyers in 2015 will drop, but not as significantly as the number of law school applicants.  The quality of lawyer will  go down substantially.

The legal industry is projected to add about 7,000 new jobs per year over the next decade.  http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm

Based on some shoddy data, I estimate somewhere an average of about 20,000 attorneys were licensed per year from 1970-1980.  I can't prove it, but I'm almost certain there are less than 20,000 attorneys retiring each year.  Feel free to correct me.   
So with 27,000 open legal jobs each year, It's clear there will still be a surplus, even with the substantial dip in applications.

The NY Times projected a national surplus of 27,269 attorneys in 2009   http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/the-lawyer-surplus-state-by-state/   (Translation, we had 53,508 attorneys for only 26,239 open spots in 2009)

There is no way it was any better in 2010 or 2011, but 2012-2015 will be  better.   That said, you will be competing against tens of thousands of underemployed attorneys from the classes before you.   The legal market is currently over capacity, and attorney wages are dropping.   Do you seriously think your situation is going to be so rosy?   If you think there will be a shortage of attorneys, you are just being intentionally naive.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: vuarnet on April 11, 2013, 12:44:16 PM
Meanwhile, I put stock in my contrarian perspective. With all of this terrific rhetoric of dismal job prospects and oversaturation and hyper-competition (overblown if you ask me, ALL jobs are competitive), my thought is that a decrease in law school graduates in the next couple years will create a relative stagnation / deficiency that will work well for my timing (applying this year, to graduate about 4 years from now).

Just in time for me to hit the market.

"When there is blood on the street, buy real estate."
Do you seriously think your situation is going to be so rosy?   If you think there will be a shortage of attorneys, you are just being intentionally naive.

Oh heck no! I am fully aware that I'm walking into the lion's den.

I didn't intend to imply that there was going to be a shortage of attorneys, I just don't believe the doomsday speak is unique to law. And I also don't believe that's a good enough reason to not pursue law as a career if you're sufficiently motivated. I do, however, expect that the surplus will thin by 2017/8, and that's at least a marginal advantage over current conditions.

To clarify, my prior post was, since it was apparently not obvious, with tongue firmly planted in-cheek :). To me, a contrarian perspective is motivating and encouraging, not discouraging. If it doesn't recover and instead worsens, and I have to spend some time underemployed, I will do the same as any self-respecting human would do -- do whatever it takes to survive. But that's a risk I am comfortable taking. Risk nothing, gain nothing.

I appreciate you taking the time to share those numbers. If applicant numbers continue to drop without a corresponding drop in admissions, your may well be right that we could see a decline in the quality of law school graduates over the next few years. The indicator would be if law schools are lowering their admission criteria or not, and I don't have a clue about that one.

Hopefully, an alternative speculation might be that the (now foreseeable and formidable) challenge of finding a job in a more competitive market has discouraged some of the fair-weather law school applicants from pursuing it as career and the real quality of graduates won't decrease, but maybe even increase. Whether that's the case or not, your guess is probably better than mine.

I'm new here, so next time I intend on making a joke over the interwebs, I'll remember to use emoticons to give said joke emotional context. :P
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: jack24 on April 11, 2013, 01:30:08 PM

I'm new here, so next time I intend on making a joke over the interwebs, I'll remember to use emoticons to give said joke emotional context. :P

Sometimes I am oversensitive, so I may need a little extra help to see a joke.  I'm just in the thick of it.  I've been an attorney for two years and I have a decent job, but I'm trying to lateral now and the job market is killing me.  Every decent job (even some not-so-decent jobs) have an unbelievable amount of applications.   I talked to one attorney who posted a commission-only part-time gig and he said he had like 30 applications in the first three days after posting a craigslist ad. 

I guess my main point is that law school takes three years of your life and a lot of debt.  The only valid reason to go to law school is if you genuinely believe a lawyer job is right for you.  Money is a terrible reason.  The job market is just as bad as any job market, but the actual costs and opportunity costs are higher than most professions. 

I honestly believe that the median law graduate has about a 50% chance of his investment paying off and about at 20% chance that he'll enjoy his job as an attorney.
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: lawyurd on April 11, 2013, 08:27:11 PM
I completely forgot about a friend of mine that the Marine Corps saw fit to make him a supply officer even though he graduated law school and passed the bar.  In defense of the Corps, I think he tried to be a pilot first and got injured so he couldn't fly anymore.   Once that happens you are at the mercy of the Marines and what is needed despite what you did educationally.   
Title: Re: From a recently barred attorney - What I wish I knew before I went to law school
Post by: livinglegend on April 19, 2013, 10:13:18 PM
I think there are plenty of misreable lawyers and plenty of happy ones. Just as their are misreable cops, firefighters, building inspectors, architects, salesman, paramedics, etc. There are also plenty of happy cops, firefighters, building inspectors, architects, salesman etc.

The reality is working is tough you meet very few people who in any profession who say I am overpaid, get to do  I want, and never have an issue with my job. Is law school hard? Yes. Expensive? Yes. However, I meet people from all walks of life who complain and hate their job or love their job. Therefore, whether you succeed as an attorney in any profession are far more up to you than any number, school, etc.

Jack is right that if you want to be a lawyer then you should go to law school, but there is always the paradox of you cannot possibly know if you will like being a lawyer until you are a lawyer. However, you will not really know if you like being a cop until your a cop so on and so on, but life is trial and error. I think law school is like anything else and you will get what you put into it.

Being a lawyer is nothing like T.V. makes it out to me you will not be recruited wined and dined and yes there will be numerous applicants for any attorney job, but there are numerous applicants for every position out there and whether you go to law school or pursue some other profession starting out will be tough.