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Author Topic: Advice Needed  (Read 1960 times)

lawgrad05

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Advice Needed
« on: October 17, 2009, 02:29:06 PM »
I'm 33, graduated law school in '05, at the bottom of my class.  At the time I was battling substance abuse, which I have overcome since then.  I never took the bar.  Mostly worked low paying jobs not knowing what to do next.  Now I'm seriously considering studying for and taking the summer bar.  I was thinking about working a law related job until then, but all the jobs like paralegal or legal assistant seem to require experience, and I don't remember many things from law school, like research methods and citations.  What are my chances of finding a law related job for the next year, and what kind of jobs do you think I may be qualified for?  Temp jobs perhaps?  Internship is out of the question because I got to pay bills.

Also, I was wondering what field of law to practice after I pass the bar.  How is the job market for lawyers, and considering my circumstance, what should I expect?  Because I literally graduated bottom of my class, so I will not be able to be picky about where I work.  Perhaps my best bet might be government or nonprofit organizations for a while.  What do you think? 

I lost touch with all my friends from law school and college, and know very little about the legal profession for someone who graduated from law school, due to substance abuse.

Advocate

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Re: Advice Needed
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2009, 02:13:26 PM »
I think you should be able to score a paralegal position. Emphasize your strengths.  Acknowledge, but do not dwell on your weaknesses. Your biggest strength is that you have a law degree. Most paralegals do not.  Obviously, don't tell prospective employers that you remember nothing from law school. Get back up to speed a bit before applying. Why don't you review basic legal research and writing techniques? You can look over course outlines to refresh your memory of substantive law.

I recommend that you contact your school's career services office and ask for help. They may be able to help you get in contact with Alumni or with lawyers who have struggled with their own substance abuse issues and thus may be happy to help you out. Some sort of organization dealing with substance abuse might also be able to help -- for example AA, or whatever.

As to taking the bar and whatnot . . . why not just go one step at a time? Refresh your memory and get a job as a paralegal. Then you can think about becoming an attorney.

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Re: Advice Needed
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 03:32:47 AM »
I'm 33, graduated law school in '05, at the bottom of my class.  At the time I was battling substance abuse, which I have overcome since then.  I never took the bar.  Mostly worked low paying jobs not knowing what to do next.  Now I'm seriously considering studying for and taking the summer bar.  I was thinking about working a law related job until then, but all the jobs like paralegal or legal assistant seem to require experience, and I don't remember many things from law school, like research methods and citations.  What are my chances of finding a law related job for the next year, and what kind of jobs do you think I may be qualified for?  Temp jobs perhaps?  Internship is out of the question because I got to pay bills.

Also, I was wondering what field of law to practice after I pass the bar.  How is the job market for lawyers, and considering my circumstance, what should I expect?  Because I literally graduated bottom of my class, so I will not be able to be picky about where I work.  Perhaps my best bet might be government or nonprofit organizations for a while.  What do you think? 

I lost touch with all my friends from law school and college, and know very little about the legal profession for someone who graduated from law school, due to substance abuse.

School?
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

lawgrad05

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Re: Advice Needed
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2009, 11:24:09 AM »
I think you should be able to score a paralegal position. Emphasize your strengths.  Acknowledge, but do not dwell on your weaknesses. Your biggest strength is that you have a law degree. Most paralegals do not.  Obviously, don't tell prospective employers that you remember nothing from law school. Get back up to speed a bit before applying. Why don't you review basic legal research and writing techniques? You can look over course outlines to refresh your memory of substantive law.

I recommend that you contact your school's career services office and ask for help. They may be able to help you get in contact with Alumni or with lawyers who have struggled with their own substance abuse issues and thus may be happy to help you out. Some sort of organization dealing with substance abuse might also be able to help -- for example AA, or whatever.

As to taking the bar and whatnot . . . why not just go one step at a time? Refresh your memory and get a job as a paralegal. Then you can think about becoming an attorney.

Great advice.  Thanks.

lawgrad05

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Re: Advice Needed
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2009, 11:24:56 AM »
I'm 33, graduated law school in '05, at the bottom of my class.  At the time I was battling substance abuse, which I have overcome since then.  I never took the bar.  Mostly worked low paying jobs not knowing what to do next.  Now I'm seriously considering studying for and taking the summer bar.  I was thinking about working a law related job until then, but all the jobs like paralegal or legal assistant seem to require experience, and I don't remember many things from law school, like research methods and citations.  What are my chances of finding a law related job for the next year, and what kind of jobs do you think I may be qualified for?  Temp jobs perhaps?  Internship is out of the question because I got to pay bills.

Also, I was wondering what field of law to practice after I pass the bar.  How is the job market for lawyers, and considering my circumstance, what should I expect?  Because I literally graduated bottom of my class, so I will not be able to be picky about where I work.  Perhaps my best bet might be government or nonprofit organizations for a while.  What do you think? 

I lost touch with all my friends from law school and college, and know very little about the legal profession for someone who graduated from law school, due to substance abuse.

School?

It was a 2nd tier school.

lawgrad05

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Re: Advice Needed
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2009, 10:07:04 AM »
I started studying for the bar exam.  I decided to take my time and study for the Feb 2011 exam instead of the July 2010 exam.  July 2010 seems too much rush, and I really want to get a solid understanding of law, since I did very poorly in law school.  Also it has been a while since I studied so I need to get used to it again.  And another very important reason is that if I perform average or above average on the bar it will show to my potential employers that my law school grades don't reflect my current abilities.

But what I'm worried about is what are my chances of landing a job, assuming I pass the bar, not necessarily with an average grade, just pass it the first try?  Remember I have zero legal work experience and graduated bottom of my class.  I'm not looking to land a job with a big law firm.  Actually, believe it or not, I want to work in the nonprofit sector, because I want to be involved with as much good and as little evil as possible.  Providing legal aid to the poor, working in civil rights, human rights, or animal rights are all things that I prefer to do.  Not to say that I don't want to work in the profit sector and earn more money.  But seems to me ethics don't come into play as much in that sector, which is important to me.  What private sector fields are there where I would not be expected to do unethical things?  I assume I could one day open my own practice and take cases I feel comfortable with.

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Re: Advice Needed
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2009, 12:36:02 PM »
What private sector fields are there where I would not be expected to do unethical things?

All of them.

lawgrad05

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Re: Advice Needed
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2009, 10:07:18 PM »
What private sector fields are there where I would not be expected to do unethical things?

All of them.

Clearly we have different moral standards.