It's great to work this hard and get paid less than minimum wage. And by 'great' I mean 'amazingly horrible.'

Welcome to Above the Law’s ongoing series: “Jobs that will put y’all back in chains.”

Unlike many of our terrible jobs, today’s story about the terrible job market is at least a job for lawyers that involves the practice of law. And earning money.

Mind you, it’s not a lot of money. Depending on how many hours you work, it’s below minimum wage. And the ad says that the hours are grueling.

But the combination of low pay and hard work isn’t what makes this job particularly horrible. It’s the fact that the employer thinks they’re going to attract the best of the best with this pathetic excuse for legal work….

The ad, which is up on Craigslist (you can see it in full on the next page), seems to be a contradiction. On the one hand, the Chicago-area firm says:

Established loop firm looking to hire aggressive associate attorney. MUST be from top tier school and in top 10% of class. Law Review required, moot court a plus. Must be willing to work 70+ hrs per week and be a self-starter.

That sounds like, roughly, the opening requirements to get a job at Cravath. But this firm isn’t paying like Cravath:

Salary commensurate with experience, but in the range of $25,000 – $35,000 USD.

I know the legal economy is bad, but if you are in the top 10 percent at a top school like, say, Northwestern, and you end up working 70 hours a week for $25K a year, you must be picking up trash in the park to work off your no-contest plea for public intoxication. Top 10 percent at a top tier school? Law review? That means you won the law school lottery. Making $25K a year while billing 70 hours a week means that you lost the lottery, and then the lottery officials came to your house and placed a flaming bag of poo on your doorstep.

It’s of course possible that the firm placing this ad has a very different view of “top tier” than I do. How is the top 10 percent of the class at DePaul doing? What about John Marshall? Would a 2012 graduate of John Marshall who is in the top 10 percent of the class and made law review be excited to have a job that almost pays minimum wage?

If real “top tier” graduates in the top 10 percent of the class are taking this kind of job, then the legal economy is even worse than we thought.

Check out the full ad on the next page (click to enlarge)….


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