In a cover story last year for Washingtonian magazine, on the subject of lawyer incomes, Kash and I posed a question: Are lawyers like white-collar auto workers?

Answer: no. Autoworkers are better paid. Check out this latest job listing, from craigslist for Orange County:

Full time associate attorney start at $12 an hour.

Welcome to the OC, bitch.

Salaries in the legal profession may be experiencing some deflation, but $12 an hour for the holder of a J.D. is… ridiculous. As one of the many readers who sent this to us observed, “I made this much in high school.” Said a second: “They’re looking for an associate who will work for $12 / hour. At that rate, one might as well go for an In-N-Out gig. You’ll probably get benefits there.”

But wait, it gets better….

The ad continues:

Oak view law group is looking to immediately hire an attorney preferably to work from our head office in Chicago. Our office is in downtown Chicago.

Twelve bucks an hour, and you don’t even get southern California weather. As one of our readers wondered: “The gig is for this firm’s Chicago office… are they expecting people to relocate from Orange County to Chicago for this???” (Three question marks in the original.)

Back to the job posting (errors in the original):

We are seeking bright, energetic associate attorney to talk to our existing clients over the phone

Boy this job market is tight. Who knew you needed a J.D. to be a customer service phone rep?

At our law firm the slogan is “The clients come first” and this permeates our culture. We are very proud of our excellent customer service and A rating with the BBB. We want someone who has the same values.

The clients must come first, since the employees certainly don’t.

So, what’s the outfit offering $12 an hour to Juris Doctors? It’s an outfit called Oak View Legal Group:

OVLG is a law firm registered with the California bar Association where a licensed and experienced attorney or lawyer will take care of your debt situation. The attorney will work with your creditors to reduce or eliminate your secured or unsecured debts. We offer wide range of debt solutions like debt settlement, debt negotiation, consolidating debts and bankruptcy.

Call us cynical — but is OVLG looking for employees, or clients? If you’re an attorney desperate enough to work for $12 an hour, you might very well be a jobless J.D. laboring under six figures of debt. As such, you might be a prime candidate for OVLG’s “wide range of debt solutions” (although good luck getting those student loans discharged in bankruptcy).

Times are tough for attorneys, but please — don’t give away your legal services for $12 an hour. Have some self-respect. Hold out for at least $15.

(Yup, that’s a real posting too, from the San Francisco craigslist. A firm is offering $15 an hour “for a contract attorney to perform court appearances, prepare demand packages and immigration petitions.” It’s a part-time position, 20 to 30 hours a week, with no benefits.)

Ed. note: It appears that the Orange County job listing has been edited since it was originally posted. In the latest version, which appears here, the ad asks applicants to “[g]ive us a rough number in terms of your salary expectations.” Hopefully this is because the original version did not generate enough responses (excluding responses involving profanity).

Full time associate attorney (Chicago) [craigslist - Orange County]
Contract Attorney Position (Hayward) [craigslist - San Francisco]
Oak view law group [official website]


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