Job Searches

We told you on Friday that somebody was literally trolling around Craigslist looking for people to sue New York Law School, in the same way that Thomas Jefferson School of Law has been sued.

I don’t think that effort will amount to much, and so I don’t think it has anything to do with the decision of New York Law School’s longtime dean, Richard Matasar, to make his exit from NYLS. Matasar isn’t telling people where he is going just yet, but he did tell the students that his stewardship of NYLS has left him with a great opportunity he didn’t want to pass up.

Let’s hope there are lots of NYLS students who feel the same way….

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Well now, here’s an interesting job opportunity for a young lawyer. You don’t have to review documents or research law. You don’t have to appear in court or file papers. You don’t even have to file a bunch of responses and answers.

All you have to is use fancy legalese to scare the heck out of somebody.

You can do that, can’t you? Isn’t intimidating laypeople with “the law” the one thing we all learn in law school?

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You aren't all getting in here.

We do not need any more lawyers. Law schools won’t tell you that, because they just want to get your money. The Obama administration won’t tell you that. They don’t want to be looked as “anti”-education. The American Bar Association won’t tell you, they’re… well I still don’t know what the hell their problem is.

But I’m willing to tell you: No. More. Lawyers.

And unlike most days when I tell you that, today I have facts. Facts printed in the New York Times.

Facts that will be ignored by thousands of prospective law students….

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Personally, I take a Quinn Emanuel approach to my sartorial choices. I try to not be overly concerned with one’s superficial appearance, and that starts at home.

But I’ve come to learn that people who spend a lot of time with their face up their own ass in front of a mirror are also deeply concerned with how other people look. Whatever, some people care about the character of a man, others care about the starch in his collar.

And if you want this job in Philadelphia, you better be in the latter category…

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It may be true that all happy families are alike while each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Based on my experience going undercover as V. Katz, I have come to learn that this is also true for associates (Biglaw and small).

Based on the comments on the salary survey, there are many small-firm associates with grievances regarding transparency, salary, benefits, hours, etc. Based on conversations with Biglaw associates, there are many who are burnt out and looking to make a “lifestyle” change by moving to a small firm, in-house position, or government job (although hopefully they saw the results that showed many small-firm associates work similar hours to Biglaw). In my conversations with unemployed or underemployed associates, they bemoan their law school loans and hope for a job before they become “obsolete and unable to re-enter the work force at the same level they were at when they lost their jobs.”

For some reason, these associates reach out to me for comfort and guidance. So, I offer them my version of a pep talk, after the jump….

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Because explaining things to people isn’t always enough, God created infographics. Sure, “infographic” is a modern-sounding internet word, but the concept has been used since time immemorial. I’m sure the first cave drawing was done by a smart guy trying to explain the concept of hunting to a dumbass.

I’ve been trying to explain the pitfalls of going to law school for years, but will forevermore be thankful to Professors Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit for pointing me in the direction of this extremely helpful infographic. Basically, if you took everything I’ve ever written about law schools and distilled it into a picture, it wouldn’t be very long.

And it would look something like this…

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Do I look like “Dear Abby”?

Somehow, because I’m working in-house and writing this column, I’ve become the adviser to the disaffected. A correspondent now asks: “I’ve worked at a Biglaw firm for several years, am at the end of my rope, and am interviewing for an in-house job next week. How will an interview for an in-house job differ from a Biglaw interview?”

I have three reactions: First, the interview may not be different at all. The in-house lawyers who are interviewing you may be veterans of Biglaw, and they may not have changed their interview styles when they changed jobs. Being qualified and pleasant may be plenty to land the job, as it is at many large law firms that are hiring new associates wholesale.

But the interview may be different in two ways that you should consider….

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For the most part, I’ve just been happy that the lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson School of Law, over the school’s allegedly misleading employment statistics, exists. It’s not about winning or losing; it’s about raising awareness of the disingenuous way law schools go about filling up their classes.

Of course, anytime somebody says “it’s not about winning or losing,” you can best believe that person expects to lose. I’ve been operating under the assumption that Anna Alaburda, the woman suing TJSL, would get her butt kicked all over the courthouse.

But maybe I am wrong to give up hope for a victory so quickly. Karen Sloan of the National Law Journal has managed to find a couple of lawyers who believe law schools could be in big trouble…

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A paralegal at work (via the Bureau of Labor Statistics page on paralegals).

One week ago, in our advice column, Pls Hndle Thx, Marin and Elie tackled the topic of paralegal education. The question presented: the usefulness of an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree in Paralegal Studies in securing gainful employment as a paralegal.

For the record, Pls Hndle Thx should not be viewed as a straight-up advice column. Rather, PHT represents Above the Law’s irreverent reinterpretation of the conventional advice column, and the “advice” offered therein should be taken with (more than) a grain of salt. Alas, judging from some of the reader comments and blogosphere reactions, Marin and Elie’s comments were taken seriously — and viewed as insulting to paralegals, which was definitely not their intent.

Based on the intense reaction (and traffic) to that controversial column, however, we learned that many people are interested in a more serious story about how educational credentials will affect the search for paralegal positions. Here it is….

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I’ve received a couple of e-mails from associates at large firms saying that these folks sit at their desks dreaming about having in-house jobs: One client instead of many competing for your time. More manageable workload. A broader range of work. Less stress. An opportunity to think strategically instead of wallowing in minutiae. No more billable hours. No more time sheets. Bliss!

Please, these correspondents ask, write a column explaining the tribulations of in-house counsel.

This is tricky. First, the in-house life is pretty good. I wouldn’t want to understate the advantages. Second, I don’t hide behind a cloak of anonymity when I publish these columns. If I faced any tribulations (and I don’t, of course), this wouldn’t be a wise forum in which to let loose. Third, my own personal experience doesn’t prove very much generally, and I hear a wide range of varied reactions from others who work in-house.

But I’ll give it a shot….

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