If you can't do this, there's no point in getting a J.D.
Well, I think we are officially at the point in the legal economy where servicing law school debts is just like servicing an expensive drug habit. The parallels between the two are too great to ignore:
Is it something you started because everybody else was doing it?
Is it something you initially thought was a harmless way to kill some time?
Did somebody make wild claims about how “great” it would be for you to try it?
Do you find yourself whoring yourself out in order to make money for it?
In the J.D. context, we usually think of “whoring” as a figurative state. But not for much longer.
We already know that many strippers do what they do in order to get money for their drugs. Now, through the wonders of Craigslist, we’re about to see strippers baring all in order to get money for their educational debts.
Sallie Mae might be just a lending institution now, but she dreams of becoming a madam…
I know lots of guys fantasize about boinking “barely legal” teenage girls. Not me, I like women: fully formed, adult women. There’s just something unseemly about older men salivating over girls who could have been in high school a year ago. Call me crazy, but it’s just more interesting as an adult to be intimate with other adults.
Similarly, I like my lawyers to actually practice law. There’s something unseemly about watching market forces turn law school graduates into glorified paralegals and secretaries. Call me a prude, but there’s just something gross about seeing young, nubile attorneys going around begging for document review positions. These people spent three years of their lives and six figures of their (or someone else’s) money to get law degrees; they should have something to show for their efforts.
But even if I don’t like to look, I can’t deny that this is happening. We are all living in a time that will be studied by future generations: a time when attorney career paths bifurcated, between traditional partnership-track associates and what I’ll call “barely legal” career paths….
It’s pretty clear that traditional large-firm jobs in big cities are still hard to come by. Even those cushy government jobs sometimes offered as a Biglaw equivalent are, as of last week, slightly less appealing. Well, fear not; the small law firm renaissance is here!
A recent article in Lawyers Weekly suggests that small towns are losing their lawyers faster than they’re being replaced. The article discusses small-town Canada, but based on this report from the WSJ Law Blog (which I previously mentioned here), as well as what I’ve heard from my sources, this observation is also true in the States.
The author seems hopeful that we are on the verge of a “renaissance in small-town lawyering,” and in support he offers a revised look at six of the traditional reasons why graduates and young lawyers often avoid smaller communities. Let’s see if he’s right…
As T-Fifty wisely noted this morning, getting a public interest legal job is a lot harder than it looks. You can’t spend two years of law school trying to get Biglaw to notice you, and only turn on your public interest charm after Biglaw rejects you. You can’t treat public interest jobs like the ugly girl ovulating her way through a night out with attractive friends.
Since getting a public interest job (especially a paying public interest job) is so competitive, students expect their law schools to help them through the process. And if you go to one of the best law schools in the nation looking to do public interest work, you expect quite a bit of help. That’s why your parents paid to put you through law school in the first place. (Oh, I’m sorry. Of course there are some people who are borrowing the full freight of a $45K/year education but totally intend to work for $45K salaries for the rest of their lives “because it’s the right thing to do.” Sure there are.)
At Columbia Law School, the students are complaining that they are not getting the public interest support they expected. As of this writing, 215 of them have signed a petition asking Dean David M. Schizer to address their concerns about career services for students who want to go into the public interest.
Given the general difficulty all law students are having getting any type of job, the public interest concerns could seem small time. But since so many law schools sell themselves as the cradle for our public interest lawyers of the future, you’d think a school like Columbia would do a better job at least paying lip service to the public interest ideal…
Flattery will get you everywhere in your legal career.
Really. Professors at the Kellogg Business School did an entire study and figured out that people with a legal background are especially skillful at sucking up — and sucking up will take you far.
On the one hand, this shouldn’t surprise anybody. People kiss up because kissing up works. On the other hand, the study is massively disappointing. You’d think that people could see through blatant brown-nosing. But people in powerful positions either can’t see through the BS, or they actually like it when underlings kiss the ring.
Truth to power? Overrated. Sniveling in front of your betters? That’s what people are looking for…
The following will shock no one who has been paying attention to how law schools are trying to openly game the U.S. News law school rankings and mislead prospective law students. When it comes time to collect employment data, law schools are selectively surveying their graduates: they’re seeking survey responses from employed graduates, while ignoring graduates who are unemployed. They’ve been playing this game at least since the recession started.
And now we have evidence. A tipster emailed pretty much everybody in the legal blogosphere spilling the dirt on how his law school is trying to inflate employment statistics. He claims that the directive from his law school is not at all subtle. If you are employed, the school hounds you to complete a graduate employment survey. If you are unemployed, the school would like you to ignore it. That way, when the school hears from U.S. News or NALP or the ABA — or Law School Transparency, which just issued another request to law schools for more comprehensive employment data — law school officials can throw up their hands and say, “It’s so hard to get our graduates to fill out a jobs survey.”
Still confused about how law schools massage the facts? Let this tipster explain it to you….
It’s been a while since we took a look at how little lawyers are willing to pay new attorneys. But today we’ve got two jobs which pay a combined salary of $1,000 per/month. I guess these employers are trying to ensure that whoever takes these jobs will show up to work on time because the new employees will leaving for work from the subway station bathroom.
Actually, saying that these two jobs have a combined salary of $1,000 per/month is a little misleading. Our first job pays $1,000, our second one pays nothing at all. It’s always nice to see lawyers who want other lawyers to contribute their legal expertise for $0. It really says a lot about how lawyers themselves value their own profession.
Let’s get to it. I’m sure some of you are at home, ogling daytime cable news anchors, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to fall into your lap…
To steal a line from Sports Illustrated, I must bring you this week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us.
Law students are struggling to find jobs; this we know. But what I didn’t know until this very day was that law students are also struggling to find the basic professional necessities. Like clothes. That’s right, clothing drives are not just for homeless people and impoverished third-world children. Not anymore.
The good people at Duquesne University School of Law are putting together a clothing drive to help out their first year law students get the professional clothing they need for interview season. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to give your used clothing to distressed 1Ls in need of assistance…
A posting on Raleigh’s Craigslist board has been flagged for abuse and taken down three times. This post doesn’t use profanity, it doesn’t offer illicit services, there’s really nothing offensive about it.
The Craigslist moderators must just think that it’s a joke. But we’ve seen these type of ads before. A disgruntled law graduate goes onto Craigslist, looking for someone to buy his law degree. It happens.
In the past, as in the case with this Georgetown Law graduate, the J.D. holder has been looking for a little bit of money to offset the massive cost of a degree which cannot be turned into a job. But this new fellow seems to have an even more reasonable request. He just wants to get some lunch out of the deal…
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.