legal jobs, statistics, and stupidity

i graduated from law school in may 2011–a touch over a year ago. i was admitted to the bar in october and spent october through march unemployed. my job now certainly isn’t a dream job, but it gives me something to do while i bide my time waiting for something else to come through (it’s a specific something else, but i’m not ready to go into it yet because yanno, jinxes).

the job market absolutely blows, which most recent grads understand. the wall street journal law blog posted an article yesterday discussing job stats for the class of 2011. bottom line: it’s grim. overall employment rate: 85.6%. that’s the lowest since 1994. even better: only 66% of recent grads are in jobs that require bar membership.

i may not have known the statistics, but i understand the reality of these numbers. i cannot count the number of friends i have who passed the bar, have 6-figure debt, and are doing doc review or other less than glamorous jobs. because of the 2008 crash and employment statistic fraud by law schools, so many of us are barely able to tread water, let alone have the lives we’d imagined.

because i’m a masochist, i read the comments on the article. most are hateful people saying society doesn’t need more lawyers, the class of 2011 is lazy, and we all lack good judgment–the usual absurd comments talking in generalities. but none of them pissed me off as much as this one:

rising 2L has passed one semester of school and is probably still waiting on grades for the spring. suddenly this kid knows how easily lawyers can get jobs? there used to be a point in life when i thought i knew everything. that attitude was smacked clear out of me by 2L year. finding employment for 1L summer is easy. i know this because my friends and i all did it. none of us had an issue finding a job 1L summer. same for 2L summer. during 3L year, i did a clinic and an externship. i’ve had a lot of diverse experience and i’m having a very difficult time finding a permanent lawyer job job. the state bar association emails me with job postings; 10:1 require at least 1 year lawyer experience. the few jobs that allow for new lawyers are inundated with apps (one i applied for received 211 applications, including lawyers with 5+ years experience). it’s insane. i just lost out on a campaign finance job with the state that had 96 qualified applications. after the oral and written exams, i came in 5th (they interview the top 3). of the people who beat me, the youngest was 35 and they’d all been practicing for more than 5 years. it was an entry level job and i lost out to very seasoned competitors. how am i supposed to compete with that?

i’m many things, but lazy is not one of them. i worked my butt off in law school. i worked my butt of studying for the bar. i was not in the bottom half of my class, i do put forth the effort in finding a job, and i do have sufficient social skills, you shitheaded, obtuse little moron not-even-a-2L.

one of the best things about growing up is learning how very little you actually know. there is so very much information in this world and it simply isn’t possible to know it all. not understanding how little you actually know is a sign of how immature you still are. this kid could do well to learn that lesson.

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