Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Message to Recent Graduates

Specifically the class of 2011. Many of you right now are probably in a panic, especially for those that have passed the bar and been admitted. I know the feeling and it blows. We're coming up on April 2012 and its been nearly a year since graduation. The black hole of the job search continues as resume after resume gets sent with no reply. Nothing. Once in a while a computer generated response of receipt and that's about it. The frustration can be maddening. I know the feeling and went through the experience myself. It took me 19 months post graduation to get the job. At the near end I practically gave up. But out of stubbornness I'd continue to send out resumes until something bit. Here are some tips for you unemployed or underemployed grads.

For California grads, and the same applies generally nation wide, GO TO COURT. I cannot stress how important this is. Go to any superior court and check out the calendars outside the department. There are trials going on all the time. Watch how the juries get selected, opening argument, expert witness testimony and cross examination. Even something as stupid as getting medical records admitted has tripped up many new grads and some mid term vets. Even regular hearings such as case management conferences, trial setting conferences, hearings on motions such as demurrers, MSJs and motion to compel. You can learn plenty just by watching.

Many of these trials are short and to the point. Auto accident cases are the best because they are easy but can show you all the basics. And you get to watch the plaintiff and defense doctors come to the exact opposite conclusions LOL. Liability cases with an accident reconstruction expert would be the best.

At this point, as an unemployed grad you don't have too many options other than sending resumes or sulking in your room/basement/bridge. Simply going to court, watching and taking good notes can show you how the system works. It's a shame that law school doesn't require ANY court participation whatsoever. What better training than to watch live?? Rather, they are too busy spouting the same shit they've been teaching for the last 30 yrs instead of actually trying to teach students real legal skills.

The sad reality is that more than half of these recent grads will place in full time jobs. Many will be part time and the remainder will work in "business" or "industry" which means retail, sales, busboy, cab driver, etc. For those that want to give the law a shot should take my advice and check out the courts.



  1. Subprime: Great post! You've touched upon a rarely-discussed issue: what it's like to be a year (or more) out of school without a job. What's disturbing, to me, is that even in these times of widespread unemployment, people who've been out of school and without a job for a while are seen as "damaged goods" by would-be employers. Even friends and family start to wonder what the unemployed graduate is doing wrong.

  2. These students would learn more by watching several auto accident, DUI, and eviction cases. Even though cases where the defendant has not paid their rent is three months usually are 5-10 minute proceedings, this is a better education than sitting on one's ass for three years - and incurring $134,210.89 in additional, non-dischargeable student debt.

    Coming from me, this may sound funny: Don't lose hope, if you are unemployed. Furthermore, and this is just as important, DO NOT INTERNALIZE your failure to find a job. The schools are pumping out too many grads, and you cannot forget that. The schools WANT you to beat yourself up, because that lets them off the hook.

    Keep searching, and be willing to accept non-legal work. I have seen too many bright and hard-working JDs turn down stable non-law work - with benefits - so that they can continue to search for law firm positions. At some point, you need to pay the bills. Good luck.

  3. This is great advice. I have been unemployed for a while (practiced for years). Now, I am looking to go into a new area...that I actually care about.

    Tomorrow, I am gonna show up to court and just sit in the back and watch, and learn, and watch, then learn some more. What the hell do I have to lose? Beats sitting on the damn couch applying for a million jobs.

    Don't know you, but you made my night. Thx.

  4. I believe I might be of service. This is a win-win solution for all of us. I started the petition: as a result of deceptive practices perpetrated against me and my cohort. Many of them are afraid to speak out. I choose to push until I obtain justice. Established lawyers quoted $10k - $30k to take the case on a task basis. Those willing to take it on a contingency basis cannot afford it or do not have the time. I believe we can work together so that we help one another. Now that I am no longer a student, I have quite a bit of time on my hands. I spend it educating and advocating for veterans and students. I should be sitting in my office making a very healthy income. Instead, I have chosen to spend that time highlighting Argosy and cousin schools. These sham schools are gaining more attention; however, they continue to pop up around the world. I don't have a fist full of dollars, but I bet I can at least pay something for my legal defense, even if that means I take on some of the labor. Does this sound like something you are interested in? I have a nice support group, with minimum income, but I bet we can pool together to generate income for you and legal defense for us. Please let me know if this is of interest. If not, at least push me in the direction of an interested group or person. Thanks. "I am one of you."

  5. I am an economist. If you want to track average legal salaries, state-by-state, here is where you look:

    For example, to check the earnings of those in the various legal professions in California, you would look here:

    Look across years to see trends. If earnings are trending down, there is an oversupply. If earnings are trending up, there is an undersupply (assuming earnings are adjusted for inflation).

    It is a tough job market for new graduates, not just those from law school. Take heart, the economy will come back.

  6. I watched a few trials through internships at school, participated in the mock trial classes/tournaments, and then even wound up litigating after law school.

    For about a year. Just watching doesn't always prepare you for if you will enjoy it. For me I couldn't stand it. I can't think of a worse way to live life for me personally than litigating.

    I know you love it Subprime, and I am glad for you. But I would caution readers in going to law school looking to litigate. There is a reason that most top law students do not litigate but instead do transactional work, and most of the better jobs keep you out of courtrooms for about a decade at least. And even then when you do go, it's usually with a team with you and for high level corporate litigation and not the junk PI or criminal defense or other garbage a regular attorney does litigation in.

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