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Author Topic: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?  (Read 12387 times)

cbiem8801

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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!

MEMEMEME

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Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2010, 11:01:06 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.

Hamilton

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Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2010, 08:10:39 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.

bigs5068

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Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2010, 04:20:36 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.

Hamilton

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Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2010, 05:11:59 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.

Hamilton

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Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2010, 06:59:08 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."

bigs5068

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Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2010, 11:42:46 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.

oleg1244

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Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2010, 02:47:00 AM »
wooooow. Graduated law school and passed Bar??? ouch! :(((((( That is not very encouraging...
LSAT: 158
Current Undergrad GPA: 3.44

Hamilton

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Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2010, 09:08:04 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."

bigs5068

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Re: Graduated and Passed the Bar, but stuck waiting tables. . . What now?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2010, 11:41:22 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.