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Author Topic: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings  (Read 2907 times)

unknownOne

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In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« on: July 10, 2011, 09:48:21 PM »
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304793504576434074172649718.html

Excerpts:
Quote
"In 2010, there were more than twice as many people—about 54,000—who passed the bar exam than there were legal job openings in the U.S., according to an analysis by consultants at Economic Modeling Specialists Inc." [....]
"Only about one-quarter of last year's graduating law-school classes—down from 33% in 2009—snagged positions with big law firms."

sollicitus

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Re: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 03:05:16 PM »
Clearly the answer is to have less people pass the bar!

DAMN YOU BARBRI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ::)

Plus, we could get into the whole (rehashing for the billionth time) argument of starting ones own firm/ starting at a clinic while working a nonlegal job on the side, entering as a court clerk/paralegal,blah,blah,blah........

Jhuen_the_bird

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Re: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 06:00:52 PM »
Hah.  Starting your own practice is only good for tons of stress and no money.  I know from experience.  It took me 6 months to give up on that little experiment born from desperation!

sollicitus

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Re: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 03:10:45 PM »
Hah.  Starting your own practice is only good for tons of stress and no money.  I know from experience.  It took me 6 months to give up on that little experiment born from desperation!

Someone with actual real world experience and not just rehashing BS they read online or heard in class............ ;D  VERY REFRESHING!

Just out of curiosity what type of law did you practice in those 6 months, how did you find clients/very many/how much would you say you made overall and what were your overall costs for that period? Was it just you or you and a few other grads? Did you get absorbed into a firm, find a non legal job, or just hop into a line at the soup kitchen(nothing wrong with soup, I love it)

I ask since I am curious about hearing real life experience on it. Was it just the lack of clients or what? Don't most businesses (legal or non) take at least 2 years to grow regardless of what you are selling?

Duncanjp

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Re: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 08:45:49 PM »
That article certainly makes a case for not going to law school until a person has spent some time in a given industry and can state with specificity why he or she wants to attend law school, what law school can do for that person, and what that person can do for the legal profession. Too many people attend law school with no greater sense of purpose than "I want to be a lawyer," having no clear idea of what that really entails or why they think they want it.

Jhuen_the_bird

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Re: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2012, 12:51:15 PM »
Hah.  Starting your own practice is only good for tons of stress and no money.  I know from experience.  It took me 6 months to give up on that little experiment born from desperation!

Someone with actual real world experience and not just rehashing BS they read online or heard in class............ ;D  VERY REFRESHING!

Just out of curiosity what type of law did you practice in those 6 months, how did you find clients/very many/how much would you say you made overall and what were your overall costs for that period? Was it just you or you and a few other grads? Did you get absorbed into a firm, find a non legal job, or just hop into a line at the soup kitchen(nothing wrong with soup, I love it)

I ask since I am curious about hearing real life experience on it. Was it just the lack of clients or what? Don't most businesses (legal or non) take at least 2 years to grow regardless of what you are selling?

Well, for me, I really had no desire to grow a business / be a business owner.  Way too much stress for me, personally.  If it was someone's lifelong dream to run their own practice and had the business background (education and/or experience) I think they COULD be successful at it, so I'm not saying it's impossible - just extremely difficult for most folks.

What happened for me was about 4 months after passing the bar (I had continued being a law clerk at a medium sized firm that wasn't in a position to hire me and then did a legal fellowship with the city through our law school during that time) is that I made a connection through craigslist.  Someone was looking for an office share.  I met with this attorney (he is in his 50's and experienced and a solo practitioner) and ended up using a small office in the space (there were 2 other experienced solos in the office).  None of them were SUPER organized, but they were successful enough.  They definitely helped me a lot, but my heart just wasn't in it.

I did the "general practice" thing, but most of what I got were domestic relations / family law clients (which I knew nothing about, and panicked over constantly).  I only had a handful of my "own" clients while practicing (about 5 or so) ... and getting them to pay was always like pulling teeth.  The only things I ended up really doing on my own were writing a couple demand letters on contract disputes, getting a woman child support, and a couple dissolutions (uncontested divorces).  I helped the one attorney with a lot of his work and he would kind of just give me money sometimes, but I didn't have to pay rent or anything.  My costs, therefore, were pretty low (malpractice insurance was dirt cheap - around $500 for the year) and I bought some furniture and did CLE's, etc.

Most of my income during this time, though, came from a part-time "of counsel" position I took with a national "debt settlement" firm - very sh!tty sh!t law, but money is money.  I also did appearances for several firms (just show up for multiple types of hearings and don't spit at the judge, and you get paid $100-$135 - we have multiple courts in our area).

I am married, so I didn't have to worry too much about making money to live - I definitely wouldn't recommend it if you aren't being supported by a spouse or parents.  My only expenses were student loans (mine aren't incredibly high) and whatever clothes / food / etc. I bought for myself. 

So ... it worked out and was a good experience.  I think it was worth the try, and I met tons of awesome mentors / colleagues while doing it, but it was a struggle!  I transitioned out by applying to anything and everything I could ... finding out about a contract attorney position doing doc review ... did that for a bit, and then got lucky and am now a staff attorney at a big law firm.  I know this isn't the "end place" for my career, but it's great for now!  Pays well and is relatively stable.  It's a relief!

Basically, it's just incredibly difficult to do what you intended to do with a law degree with the state of the legal economy now ... beggars can't be choosers!

sollicitus

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Re: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2012, 01:48:03 PM »
Hah.  Starting your own practice is only good for tons of stress and no money.  I know from experience.  It took me 6 months to give up on that little experiment born from desperation!

Someone with actual real world experience and not just rehashing BS they read online or heard in class............ ;D  VERY REFRESHING!

Just out of curiosity what type of law did you practice in those 6 months, how did you find clients/very many/how much would you say you made overall and what were your overall costs for that period? Was it just you or you and a few other grads? Did you get absorbed into a firm, find a non legal job, or just hop into a line at the soup kitchen(nothing wrong with soup, I love it)

I ask since I am curious about hearing real life experience on it. Was it just the lack of clients or what? Don't most businesses (legal or non) take at least 2 years to grow regardless of what you are selling?

Well, for me, I really had no desire to grow a business / be a business owner.  Way too much stress for me, personally.  If it was someone's lifelong dream to run their own practice and had the business background (education and/or experience) I think they COULD be successful at it, so I'm not saying it's impossible - just extremely difficult for most folks.

What happened for me was about 4 months after passing the bar (I had continued being a law clerk at a medium sized firm that wasn't in a position to hire me and then did a legal fellowship with the city through our law school during that time) is that I made a connection through craigslist.  Someone was looking for an office share.  I met with this attorney (he is in his 50's and experienced and a solo practitioner) and ended up using a small office in the space (there were 2 other experienced solos in the office).  None of them were SUPER organized, but they were successful enough.  They definitely helped me a lot, but my heart just wasn't in it.

I did the "general practice" thing, but most of what I got were domestic relations / family law clients (which I knew nothing about, and panicked over constantly).  I only had a handful of my "own" clients while practicing (about 5 or so) ... and getting them to pay was always like pulling teeth.  The only things I ended up really doing on my own were writing a couple demand letters on contract disputes, getting a woman child support, and a couple dissolutions (uncontested divorces).  I helped the one attorney with a lot of his work and he would kind of just give me money sometimes, but I didn't have to pay rent or anything.  My costs, therefore, were pretty low (malpractice insurance was dirt cheap - around $500 for the year) and I bought some furniture and did CLE's, etc.

Most of my income during this time, though, came from a part-time "of counsel" position I took with a national "debt settlement" firm - very sh!tty sh!t law, but money is money.  I also did appearances for several firms (just show up for multiple types of hearings and don't spit at the judge, and you get paid $100-$135 - we have multiple courts in our area).

I am married, so I didn't have to worry too much about making money to live - I definitely wouldn't recommend it if you aren't being supported by a spouse or parents.  My only expenses were student loans (mine aren't incredibly high) and whatever clothes / food / etc. I bought for myself. 

So ... it worked out and was a good experience.  I think it was worth the try, and I met tons of awesome mentors / colleagues while doing it, but it was a struggle!  I transitioned out by applying to anything and everything I could ... finding out about a contract attorney position doing doc review ... did that for a bit, and then got lucky and am now a staff attorney at a big law firm.  I know this isn't the "end place" for my career, but it's great for now!  Pays well and is relatively stable.  It's a relief!

Basically, it's just incredibly difficult to do what you intended to do with a law degree with the state of the legal economy now ... beggars can't be choosers!

It sounds to me less like you were a solo practioner and more like you worked for a small firm with some work on the side. Not the same as starting from scratch, but still valuable real life experience and I thank you for that.

Are you just trying to compare small to big firms?

Do you think you could have gotten into the big firm without the experience you gained from the other work?

Jhuen_the_bird

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Re: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 03:03:03 PM »
It sounds to me less like you were a solo practioner and more like you worked for a small firm with some work on the side. Not the same as starting from scratch, but still valuable real life experience and I thank you for that.

Are you just trying to compare small to big firms?

Do you think you could have gotten into the big firm without the experience you gained from the other work?

Well, I wasn't on a payroll aside from being an independent contractor and just helping out the more experienced solo practitioner so I wouldn't have to pay any rent.  I definitely did as much, if not more, work than other solo practitioners just starting out (6 months is a very short period of time!)  I also did all the things you need to do (set up IOLTA account and business operating account, malpractice insurance, etc.)  The part time "of counsel" position I had was very part time, and appearances are something most solos I know do to supplement their income.

What do you mean by comparing big to small firms?  I'm a little confused as to what you're refering to ...

There are 2011 graduates who are working with me as staff attorneys at this big firm (hired the same time I was), so I'm not sure if my experience helped me get hired or not.  There was a GPA minimum requirement, so that was obviously important.  I think what helped me most was that I was just coming off of doing a document review project, and staff attorneys do a lot of doc review, so I had experience with doing that kind of work.


EDIT: I guess what I was trying to show is that, yes, I was technically a solo practitioner with independent contractor jobs on the side.  It seems like I wasn't doing a lot of work / not very busy, b/c there ISN'T a lot of work out there - at least not feasible work from paying clients for an inexperienced new attorney.  I did as much as I possibly could, but in the end I decided it just wasn't for me.

sollicitus

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Re: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 03:09:06 PM »
It sounds to me less like you were a solo practioner and more like you worked for a small firm with some work on the side. Not the same as starting from scratch, but still valuable real life experience and I thank you for that.

Are you just trying to compare small to big firms?

Do you think you could have gotten into the big firm without the experience you gained from the other work?

Well, I wasn't on a payroll aside from being an independent contractor and just helping out the more experienced solo practitioner so I wouldn't have to pay any rent.  I definitely did as much, if not more, work than other solo practitioners just starting out (6 months is a very short period of time!)  I also did all the things you need to do (set up IOLTA account and business operating account, malpractice insurance, etc.)  The part time "of counsel" position I had was very part time, and appearances are something most solos I know do to supplement their income.

What do you mean by comparing big to small firms?  I'm a little confused as to what you're refering to ...

There are 2011 graduates who are working with me as staff attorneys at this big firm (hired the same time I was), so I'm not sure if my experience helped me get hired or not.  There was a GPA minimum requirement, so that was obviously important.  I think what helped me most was that I was just coming off of doing a document review project, and staff attorneys do a lot of doc review, so I had experience with doing that kind of work.


EDIT: I guess what I was trying to show is that, yes, I was technically a solo practitioner with independent contractor jobs on the side.  It seems like I wasn't doing a lot of work / not very busy, b/c there ISN'T a lot of work out there - at least not feasible work from paying clients for an inexperienced new attorney.  I did as much as I possibly could, but in the end I decided it just wasn't for me.

I meant where you were compared to where you are. (the big firm vs the not the big firm)

I don't doubt that you did at least as much if not more work than solo's I was just pointed out that you had responded to comment on the " I tried the solo thing for 6 months and didn't like it" part.

As for the services for not paying rent, did you make sure to include that in your end of year income? (FMV of rent deferred in exchange for services rendered) I ask since most know they should, and yet most do not.

Jhuen_the_bird

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Re: In 2010, twice as many bar passers as job openings
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 03:24:48 PM »
I meant where you were compared to where you are. (the big firm vs the not the big firm)

I don't doubt that you did at least as much if not more work than solo's I was just pointed out that you had responded to comment on the " I tried the solo thing for 6 months and didn't like it" part.

As for the services for not paying rent, did you make sure to include that in your end of year income? (FMV of rent deferred in exchange for services rendered) I ask since most know they should, and yet most do not.

It wasn't an official agreement or "this for that" ... it was just a situation in which this guy (and the other solos in the office) were being nice to me as a young, new attorney and letting me use the space for free.  Therefore, I just felt like I SHOULD help out if they needed assistance drafting something or doing some quick research.  I didn't get into anything that complicated on my taxes, if that's what you mean.

If you're just asking for me to compare different places I've worked, I've never worked at a "small" firm.  I was a law clerk at a medium (around 20+ attorneys) firm.  The office where the solos were was just a small office with 3 solo practitioners sharing space.  It was a nice atmosphere, and I liked those people a lot, but I was barely making any money and it was stressful to feel so lost / clueless about everything.

I DID try the solo thing and didn't like it - even with as much help and support I had while doing it.  I couldn't imagine just trying to do it on my own as a new attorney w/o any mentors.  I just commented b/c it's ridiculous when people say "why don't new attorneys just go solo!?" ... it's absurd.  It's far too difficult for a majority of new attorneys (and can be a real disservice to your clients since you know so little about practical legal practice) ... and it is often NOT lucrative at all.  Yeah, it's something you can kind of limp along doing while trying to find another job and it looks a lot better than doing NOTHING, but I wouldn't say it's just a simple solution to the legal job market and we attorneys are just too dumb to figure that out - lol.