Job Searches, Law Schools, Unemployment

Gradenfreude: The Employment Questionnaire Lower-Ranked Law Schools Should REALLY Be Using

It’s about that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about when ESPN tells you what Ray Lewis and his teammates ate for breakfast along with every other remotely interesting detail of the other Super Bowl players’ lives. Instead, I’m talking about the time that law schools start to really get anal retentive about getting their graduate employment forms back.

I bet some of you readers have already received a couple of emails from your alma mater, each increasingly desperate and frantic as the head of career services threatens to pull his hair out unless you respond. This may seem like a good or even noble task for the school to perform, but let’s take a closer look at what’s really going on….

First things first, yes, I am one of the terrible students that took his sweet-ass time to respond. That’s just how I roll (like I could afford to buy a book of stamps to mail one letter, come on). But that’s also how I knew about the emails — and I’ve received five so far. Don’t you think that’s a bit much?

Now, I wasn’t planning on responding, because when I was applying to school I saw that some graduates didn’t respond. I assumed that the only reason not to respond was that they were too embarrassed to tell the world they were underemployed or unemployed. How naive I was to make that assumption. Now I know how pissed off they must’ve been when they graduated without a hope or a prayer of actual employment in the legal profession. That seemed like a good enough reason for me not to respond.

So, after being continually harassed (in multiple ways: snail mail, email, phone messages) by my TTT to respond, last week, I made the mistake of picking up a random phone call with the same area code as my fine institution. And just like that, future prospective students will now realize that a degree from my school is best used as toilet paper or as kindling for heat provided by a flaming trash can in the only home you’ll be able to afford as an underemployed law school graduate: a cardboard box in a back alley.

Now, let’s review some of the information being sought. Here’s one thing that I’ve never seen publicized by my school: they’d like to know when you received your job offer, with employment at graduation or after you received your bar results being the reference points. Geez, I wonder why I’ve never seen this information publicized before! I guess the incredibly low percentage of employment at graduation may be a bit too much of a Debbie Downer for the website or glossy brochures, but that’s just me.

I also like the fact that the “after the results” employment metric is so incredibly vague that it doesn’t provide any remotely tangible information to a prospective student. It’s also interesting how detailed the response lines are should you be unemployed, so that they can attempt to spin the information in a positive way.

Personally, there isn’t even a question or answer on that stupid employment questionnaire that I can select that actually describes my situation. The only jobs that are referred to are of a professional nature. Unfortunately for me, there was no response saying, “I push f**king buttons” — which is actually surprising considering the number of non-legal positions that they do include.

And I know that much of the information on these forms is required by NALP and the ABA, but my school completely ignored the fact that a lot of its graduates will be paid by the hour rather than based off of a salary. On behalf of the many recent graduates of my law school who are working in retail, I say, “SCREW YOU!”

And now, out of the kindness of my heart, I have decided to make up my own, more helpful questionnaire for law schools of the lesser variety to use….

(hidden for your protection)

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