‘This one is a story about shoes… international shoes!’
Let’s have a chat about the job market. For the past few years, it’s been a rather bleak situation, with a little more than half of recent law school graduates employed in full-time, long-term jobs as attorneys. Jim Leipold, executive director of the National Association for Law Placement, recently revealed that the class of 2011 would “historically come to be seen as the bottom of the market.” Less than half of the class of 2011 found jobs in private practice, with the overall employment rate sinking to lows not seen since the mid 1990s.
Now that it’s been a few years since they graduated, just how screwed are the members of the class of 2011? By all accounts, it seems like the answer may be “very.” As it turns out, all of the law professors who thought they were cheekily offering babysitting jobs to their students for some extra cash were really just preparing them for their future careers.
Take heed before you apply to law school, lest you become a nanny with six figures of debt…
‘This is a story about shoes. International shoes!’
Young lawyers are getting a bad rap these days. They’re inexperienced, and no one wants to pay them for their work. That’s why they’re all clambering over each other to get a clerkship after graduation — state, federal, really any clerkship will do. The prestigious résumé line alone is enough to overshadow the fact that they don’t really know how to do anything. But sometimes, after all of that effort, judges would rather use young lawyers as babysitters than as law clerks. After all, isn’t that what they’re best qualified for?
No, it’s not, and one judge just got publicly humiliated after the state Commission on Judicial Conduct found out that she was using all of her staff members, including her law clerks, to do all sorts of personal errands, like babysitting her kid in chambers during business hours…
I’m getting used to the idea that people think it’s appropriate to try to get law students to babysit their children. At the very least, I’ve gotten used to the fact that law schools don’t find it insulting at all to offer students babysitting gigs as a way to supplement their income.
I suppose if you are a law professor, you are somewhat used to having students take care of your expenses as they desperately try to jump start their careers. Still, it’s a little bit surprising to see a babysitting job coming out of Columbia Law School.
But the pay is right. And heck, these are Columbia students — they should be able to multitask babysitting, studying for torts, and fending off criminals in Morningside Heights all at the same time….
We’ve done a surprising number of stories about law school career service officers who push babysitting gigs on their unemployed students. I say “surprising” because after our first story, you’d think law schools would figure out that law students don’t like being put up for jobs that they could have secured in high school.
Since that first one, most CSO personnel and other law school staffers have figured out that babysitting jobs are best when the employer is a professor or somebody else connected with the law school. Then it’s less of a “career of last resort” and more of “helping out a member of your community” (who happens to be well-connected).
But it looks like one school has regressed to the point of just insulting its students with a babysitting ad that kind of rubs salt in the unemployment wound….
'Once upon a time there lived a woman named Mrs. Palsgraf....'
We reacted with horror when a law firm offered University of Texas law students the opportunity to be a “Legal Assistant/Nanny.” That one was crazy. So was the UCLA Law job posting seeking a chauffeur (to drive in Los Angeles traffic, no less).
But these jobs were proffered during tougher times for the economy. Now things are better. Now, students who go to the best law schools — law schools ranked even higher than UT — don’t have to work on their wet-nursing skills in order to secure gainful employment.
Of course, if they want to take care of somebody else’s kids…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
Non-attorneys would think the stress comes from preparing for a big trial, deposing a hostile witness, or crafting the perfect contract for a picky client.
But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
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