Contract Attorneys, Job Searches, Law Schools

This Law School Is Finally Being Honest About Job Prospects

Searching for jobs is never fun.

Even in a job market that isn’t floundering and redefining itself every six months it can be stressful. This is especially true for recent law school graduates who have the specter of future student loan payments lurking in every corner. So when a law school makes an earnest effort to assist its students and alumni in obtaining the jobs that are available, the school should be commended.

This post is about what happens when the “available jobs” are contract attorney positions. It may not be the dream job you envisioned when you submitted your law school application three short years ago, but it is a living.

Which law school is leveling with its recent graduates by setting up a matchmaking service to get recent grads work reviewing documents for peanuts?

You may remember our good friends from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. A few months back, Elie took them to task for making bad arguments encouraging people to apply to law school (complete with logical fallacies). Well, I guess they are serious about getting graduates the “lifelong returns” on their law school investment by… helping them be contract attorneys. The school recently had a posting from the career services for a fun program called the “Denver Law Contract Work Initiative” that a tipster sent along. Let’s go through some of the more choice tidbits with the whole class.

The Denver Law Contract Work Initiative is a program to assist recent grads who are interested in doing contract work.

Interested in doing contract work? That is exactly zero people. Interested in paying off student loans and not becoming a deadbeat unable to have a credit card? Well, now you’ve piqued my interest. I’ll also note that there is no indication in this job posting of any expected salary; maybe they do expect you to be a contractor for the love of the game.

We started this program in 2011 and have gotten strong results with the program. We are hoping this year’s effort will lead to more job opportunities.

Translation? We are hoping this year’s effort will lead to better “employment 9 months after graduation” statistics. Though if this helps even one person avoid the plights of being an unemployed lawyer, well, then who am I to judge.

While most job seekers are looking for permanent work, short-term contract work can be a great way to build your skills, avoid gaps in your resume, and bring in some income.

The project may be short-term, but being a contract attorney? That’s not a job, it is a lifestyle. #temp4lyf!

In the best case scenario, a contract position can even lead to permanent employment!.

There was this one guy in 2006 who went temp to perm… we think. But I love how the author of this stellar job posting couldn’t decide how to package this particular white lie, so double punctuation! It’s like a double rainbow, but tragic.

Most of the contract work that has come in through this initiative in past years has involved large document review projects, but it has also resulted in other types of work from time to time.

It is entirely possible you will be doing the work of a first-year associate for way less money and job security. And if you do, you’ll be considered one of the lucky ones. This is the new reality for law school graduates. They don’t even have the chance to grow bitter and resentful about their lives in law firms.

Take heart all current and future participants in the illustrious Denver Law Contract Work Initiative, I am sure the coding skillz you’re learning will be a staple of your career.

You can read the full job posting on the next page.

Now it is time for our worst job of the week. This one was sent to us with the subject line “The law profession is being degraded.”

 Temporary job for Attorney (Flatiron)
I am a sole practitioner near Madison Square Park. I am looking for temporary full-time help from an attorney who can write Pleadings, Motions, attend Court Appearances, etc. This is a good position for someone who is looking to build their resume. The pay is $10 an hour and could lead to a full-time position.If you speak Spanish or a second language, it would be a Plus but is absolutely not necessary.We are kind people and will treat you well, with respect and will teach you.

To be frank, this doesn’t sound like working there would be the worst job — they even advertise respect! Unfortunately, respect does not pay bills, and you can actually make more starting at Costco and that is a permanent position. Without the mountains of student loans.

If you have information about a bad contract attorney job, send an email to with the subject line “worst job.” As for this week’s winner, send us an email with your mailing information and t-shirt size and you will be the proud owner of ATL casual Friday attire.

(Flip to the next page to read more about the Denver Law Contract Work Initiative.)

(hidden for your protection)

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