I'm a second year law student. This is my second summer not being able to find legal employment.?

This is a law student – lawyer question only. I’m not at the top of my class and my student involvement is mediocre. However, I have prior work history in a legally related field. I’m really asking for advice on what my next route should be. Should I continue applying for summer jobs or should I hang up using my JD in any way? What are employers really looking for? This law school and employment thing has become a conundrum for me.

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6 Responses to “I'm a second year law student. This is my second summer not being able to find legal employment.?”

  1. kapn Says:

    Law is flooded wait until you try to find a practice when you graduate and pass the bar……….

  2. Mille_D-Gurl08 Says:

    You should consider seeking legal employment outside of your region. In places like Los Angles and NY there are countless opportunities for law students. I am prelaw and have been able to secure internships and have noticed a large number of places solely seeking law school students to work as clerks. So, I would not suggest that you hang up pursuing your J.D. if that is truly something you want.Try searching for women lawyer’s associations and mentorship programs, they are very helpful when it comes to advising and job opportunities.

  3. heather62688 Says:

    are you interning anywhere… if not… consider it if it sn’t to early… a lot of attorneys are hired before they pass the bar exam while they are interning…

  4. stephen t Says:

    Lawyers are a dime a dozen, go medical. Heck, there is a shortage of pharmacists and their median wage is $98,000K well above lawyers. Dentists 180,000K median and there is a shortage, and of course a shortage of MDs.

    From US News, Poor careers for 2006
    Attorney. If starting over, 75 percent of lawyers would choose to do something else. A similar percentage would advise their children not to become lawyers. The work is often contentious, and there’s pressure to be unethical. And despite the drama portrayed on TV, real lawyers spend much of their time on painstakingly detailed research. In addition, those fat-salaried law jobs go to only the top few percent of an already high-powered lot.

    Many people go to law school hoping to do so-called public-interest law. (In fact, much work not officially labeled as such does serve the public interest.) What they don’t teach in law school is that the competition for those jobs is intense. I know one graduate of a Top Three law school, for instance, who also edited a law journal. She applied for a low-paying job at the National Abortion Rights Action League and, despite interviewing very well, didn’t get the job.

    From the Associated Press, MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A lawmaker who persuaded the Assembly to eliminate all state funding for the University of Wisconsin law school says his reasoning is simple: There’s too many lawyers in Wisconsin.

    From an ABA study about malpractice claims, More Sole Practicioners: There appears to be an increasing trend toward sole practicioners, due partly to a lack of jobs for new lawyers, but also due to increasing dissatisfaction among experienced lawyers with traditional firms; leading to some claims which could have been avoided with better mentoring.

    New Lawyers: Most insurers have noticed that many young lawyers cannot find jobs with established firms, and so are starting their own practices without supervision or mentoring. This is likely to cause an increase in malpractice claims, although the claims may be relatively small in size due to the limited nature of a new lawyers

    “In a survey conducted back in 1972 by the American Bar Association, seventy percent of Americans not only didn’t have a lawyer, they didn’t know how to find one. That’s right, thirty years ago the vast majority of people didn’t have a clue on how to find a lawyer. Now it’s almost impossible not to see lawyers everywhere you turn."

    Growth of Legal Sector
    Lags Broader Economy; Law Schools Proliferate
    For graduates of elite law schools, prospects have never been better. Big law firms this year boosted their starting salaries to as high as $160,000. But the majority of law-school graduates are suffering from a supply-and-demand imbalance that’s suppressing pay and job growth. The result: Graduates who don’t score at the top of their class are struggling to find well-paying jobs to make payments on law-school debts that can exceed $100,000. Some are taking temporary contract work, reviewing documents for as little as $20 an hour, without benefits. And many are blaming their law schools for failing to warn them about the dark side of the job market.

    The law degree that Scott Bullock gained in 2005 from Seton Hall University — where he says he ranked in the top third of his class — is a "waste," he says. Some former high-school friends are earning considerably more as plumbers and electricians than the $50,000-a-year Mr. Bullock is making as a personal-injury attorney in Manhattan. To boot, he is paying off $118,000 in law-school debt.

    A slack in demand appears to be part of the problem. The legal sector, after more than tripling in inflation-adjusted growth between 1970 and 1987, has grown at an average annual inflation-adjusted rate of 1.2% since 1988, or less than half as fast as the broader economy, according to Commerce Department data.

    On the supply end, more lawyers are entering the work force, thanks in part to the accreditation of new law schools and an influx of applicants after the dot-com implosion earlier this decade. In the 2005-06 academic year, 43,883 Juris Doctor degrees were awarded, up from 37,909 for 2001-02, according to the American Bar Association. Universities are starting up more law schools in part for prestige but also because they are money makers. Costs are low compared with other graduate schools and classrooms can be large. Since 1995, the number of ABA-accredited schools increased by 11%, to 196.

    According to the Internal Revenue Service, the inflation-adjusted average income of sole practitioners has been flat since the mid-1980s. A recent survey showed that out of nearly 600 lawyers at firms of 10 lawyers or fewer in Indiana, wages for the majority only kept pace with inflation or dropped in real terms over the past five years.

    Many students "simply cannot earn enough income after graduation to support the debt they incur," wrote Richard Matasar, dean of New York Law School, in 2005, concluding that, "We may be reaching the end of a golden era for law schools."

    Now, debate is intensifying among law-school academics over the integrity of law schools’ marketing campaigns.
    David Burcham, dean of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, considered second-tier, says the school makes no guarantees to students that they will obtain jobs.

    OK, I have to interject right here. Did a dean of a law school basically say you could go through all the nonsense of getting into law school, law school, ethics exam, bar exam and you should not expect some sort of gainful employment after you are through? You might as well go to Las Vegas and put your tuition money on the rouelette table and let it ride, you may have better odds of making money than going to his school and getting a decent paying law job. This guy is a jerk.

    Yet economic data suggest that prospects have grown bleaker for all but the top students, and now a number of law-school professors are calling for the distribution of more-accurate employment information. Incoming students are "mesmerized by what’s happening in big firms, but clueless about what’s going on in the bottom half of the profession," says Richard Sander, a law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles who has studied the legal job market.

    But in law schools’ self-published employment data, "private practice" doesn’t necessarily mean jobs that improve long-term career prospects, for that category can include lawyers working under contract without benefits, such as Israel Meth. A 2005 graduate of Brooklyn Law School, he earns about $30 an hour as a contract attorney reviewing legal documents for big firms. He says he uses 60% of his paycheck to pay off student loans — $100,000 for law school on top of $100,000 for the bachelor’s degree he received from Columbia University. "Most people graduating from law school," he says, "are not going to be earning big salaries."

    Adding to the burden for young lawyers: Tuition growth at law schools has almost tripled the rate of inflation over the past 20 years, leading to higher debt for students and making starting salaries for most graduates less manageable, especially in expensive cities. Graduates in 2006 of public and private law schools had borrowed an average of $54,509 and $83,181, up 17% and 18.6%, respectively, from the amount borrowed by 2002 graduates, according to the American Bar Association.

    But just as common — and much less publicized — are experiences such as that of Sue Clark, who this year received her degree from second-tier Chicago-Kent College of Law, one of six law schools in the Chicago area. Despite graduating near the top half of her class, she has been unable to find a job and is doing temp work "essentially as a paralegal," she says. "A lot of people, including myself, feel frustrated about the lack of jobs," she says.

    The market is particularly tough in big cities that boast numerous law schools. Mike Altmann, 29, a graduate of New York University who went to Brooklyn Law School, says he accumulated $130,000 in student-loan debt and graduated in 2002 with no meaningful employment opportunities — one offer was a $33,000 job with no benefits. So Mr. Altmann became a contract attorney, reviewing electronic documents for big firms for around $20 to $30 an hour, and hasn’t been able to find higher-paying work since.

    Some new lawyers try to hang their own shingle. Matthew Fox Curl graduated in 2004 from second-tier University of Houston in the bottom quarter of his class. After months of job hunting, he took his first job working for a sole practitioner focused on personal injury in the Houston area and made $32,000 in his first year. He quickly found that tort-reform legislation has been "brutal" to Texas plaintiffs’ lawyers and last year left the firm to open up his own criminal-defense private practice.

    He’s making less money than at his last job and has thought about moving back to his parents’ house. "I didn’t think three years out I’d be uninsured, thinking it’s a great day when a crackhead brings me $500."

    Here is an example ad in Massachusetts for an experienced attorney, that mentions salary, it was posted this week. Most jobs don’t state salary in the ad cause the pay is pretty low.

    Office of the District Attorney, criminal attorney, for the Bristol County District seeks staff attorney for the Appellate Division. Excellent writing skills and a passion for appellate advocacy are a must. Salary $37,500. Preference given to candidates who live in or will relocate to Bristol County.

    LOL, secretaries with no college can make more. What is even more sad is there will probably be like 50-100 lawyers that send in their resume for this ad.

    Here is another attorney ad. They pay 3

  5. CatLaw Says:

    Unless you are in a top tier law school getting top grades, this is a preview of what it will be like to get a job as a lawyer after you pass the bar exam. I graduated in 1993 and had the same problems.

    There are a couple of things you can do now. You can look for employment, not at law firms, but in corporations in their legal department. You can see if a legal temp agency will place you in a summer job. You can volunteer to work (for free) at a law firm or at a gov job. Some gov organizations will allow this and you will get experience. I know of two people who spent their summers in the public defenders office for no pay, but got tons of experience. You may also be able to volunteer at a pro bono organization.

    What you need is experience so that you can get an attorney job when you graduate. Without experience you will be in this same situation then. Unfortunately, the majority of law school graduates are in the same boat. Good luck.

  6. shadow26852 Says:

    I would just like to say that Stephen T’s answer although seemingly well informed is his answer for every question (check it out). My guess is that he has failed out of law school or was rejected from even attending. It bothers me that he uses his obvious bittnerness to try to crush the dreams that others may possess.