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Old 01-02-2013, 03:06 PM
 
60 posts, read 143,424 times
Reputation: 78

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Greetings everyone:

I lost my job at the beginning of October at a creditor's law firm. Ever since I graduated from law school in 2008, employment has been a struggle. I understand having a law degree from Seattle University (the Seattle equivalent of Santa Clara University) makes things a lot tougher seeing as how it's a regional school. I was fortunate enough to have family connections come through with a job at a micro law firm after graduating, and worked there for about 2 years before diminishing work forced a lay off. I was unemployed for 2 months, and then considered myself very fortunate to find a job at a firm doing very unglamorous work. I then lost that job in October after 2 years there. Searching for an attorney job right now is beyond depressing. It honestly feels as if I could be futilely searching for a legal job forever, as silly as that might sound.

On top of that, so many of these job postings are like the desperate sort of posting - i.e.the type you'd only even consider in a desperate situation where you need income to pay the bills. I'd like to not be consigned to such a life (although I'd probably take such a job in a heartbeat right now just to have a paycheck), and I'd like to think a law degree and work experience has equipped me with skills and exhibits enough intelligence to make me qualified for another career. I read here and there about people switching to non-legal careers, but can anyone offer any personal experience, know of someone with such experience, or just general insights of any kind?

Anyone in a similar situation, feel free to commiserate with me as well.

Thanks all.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:33 PM
 
11,073 posts, read 15,024,170 times
Reputation: 13644
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsyde82 View Post
Greetings everyone:

I lost my job at the beginning of October at a creditor's law firm. Ever since I graduated from law school in 2008, employment has been a struggle. I understand having a law degree from Seattle University (the Seattle equivalent of Santa Clara University) makes things a lot tougher seeing as how it's a regional school. I was fortunate enough to have family connections come through with a job at a micro law firm after graduating, and worked there for about 2 years before diminishing work forced a lay off. I was unemployed for 2 months, and then considered myself very fortunate to find a job at a firm doing very unglamorous work. I then lost that job in October after 2 years there. Searching for an attorney job right now is beyond depressing. It honestly feels as if I could be futilely searching for a legal job forever, as silly as that might sound.

On top of that, so many of these job postings are like the desperate sort of posting - i.e.the type you'd only even consider in a desperate situation where you need income to pay the bills. I'd like to not be consigned to such a life (although I'd probably take such a job in a heartbeat right now just to have a paycheck), and I'd like to think a law degree and work experience has equipped me with skills and exhibits enough intelligence to make me qualified for another career. I read here and there about people switching to non-legal careers, but can anyone offer any personal experience, know of someone with such experience, or just general insights of any kind?

Anyone in a similar situation, feel free to commiserate with me as well.

Thanks all.
Curiously enough, most of my friends who have law degrees still work as lawyers.

However, I do know other lawyers who have left the profession that are in the vague, mysterious world of 'consulting'. If you have an impressive educational background, you could try that.

A guy I know with a law degree was pursuing a doctorate in urban planning.

Another I know is opening up his own law firm.

You have to have some idea of what you would like to switch into before others can give you advice.

But, if it's just, "some job behind a desk where I can make good $ and my law degree has at least a lick of relevance"... then, consulting.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:21 PM
 
54 posts, read 46,375 times
Reputation: 70
I graduated from Pitt Law in 2007. A lot of my fellow grads are unemployed, or at "below market" law jobs. I took a different route and went into purchasing/supply chain. It took some time to get through the door for an interview (a lot of assumptions that I was waiting for a firm to call, etc) but once I did, a lot of folks saw the value add of having the J.D. I've enjoying it quite a bit as well - have had experience both at a large public company as well as a small start-up.

In purchasing, you can utilize law school knowledge (contracts, IP, etc) but you also get to be on the front lines of a company's success. For every dollar saved in procurement, it equals ~$5 in new sales. It also gives you exposure to the cool stuff R&D is working on in advance of public release.

Global purchasing jobs are very much in demand and pay very well, though you usually have to put in a few years as a tactical buyer (just entering purchase orders, misc. scut work) but that's true of just about every job.

The other nice thing about purchasing/supply chain is that every company needs it, so you can get exposure to a lot of different industries through your career, as well as be pretty much wherever you want to be.

About the only thing I don't like about my day-to-day is that in both organizations I've been in (and based on conversations with others it's true most everywhere) Supply Chain often takes the fall if anything is late or incorrect. Regardless of the upstream issues, since "Supply Chain touched it last" you're often expected to work a miracle with the supplier in order to make up for lost time in the design phase. That said, I still find it very rewarding, and much better than slaving in a firm or PD's office.

Good luck on whatever you decide.
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:48 PM
 
805 posts, read 1,113,811 times
Reputation: 718
Most employers do not like lawyers and a JD makes you "overqualified" for many jobs. Your best bet may legally-related jobs, such as tax preparation/planning (if you took several tax law courses and practiced in tax or estate planning), finance (if you practiced in corporate law), etc. Or try taking a civil service exam, where the overqualified problem is diminished by the weight given to the exam (the fact that you passed the Bar Exam is evidence that you are a good test taker and are likely to do well on civil service exams).

Also, be sure to tell non-legal employers you have no interest in practicing law again, so as to diminish their fears that you will leave them as soon as you find a legal job.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:07 PM
 
60 posts, read 143,424 times
Reputation: 78
When you mention civil service exams for government jobs, what exactly are these gov't jobs? Is the exam just one basic qualification all gov't employees need to have?
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:15 PM
 
805 posts, read 1,113,811 times
Reputation: 718
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsyde82 View Post
When you mention civil service exams for government jobs, what exactly are these gov't jobs? Is the exam just one basic qualification all gov't employees need to have?
In NY, at least, usually there are education and/or experience qualifications to take the exam, though they are often broad in description and the experience is not that rigorous for entry level positions (and can sometimes be substituted with education). Different positions will have a different exam. Usually the top three candidates are interviewed if the state is only hiring one person, 5 if hiring two, 7 if hiring 3, etc. They are positions that are exempt from exams, like various political jobs.

Other states and local governments may be different.

I think the federal government often requires an extensive application process which is a substitute for an exam.

Overall, governmental entities are not as hiring as much as they once more and the impending sequester cuts will likely limit the amount of near future hiring.
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