The market for attorneys is saturated with new attorneys with massive debt and old attorneys fired due to “The Great Recession.” Law schools are scrambling to get out of lawsuits for overpromising career prospects and salaries and fudging numbers. Law schools are rebranding their career/job search departments to flowery “professional advancement” offices to reduce the impression that its their “job” to help you get a job after they promised you would get a job if you would cut a check for $100k. Career attorneys are lining up to do work for free just for the prospect of a job opening in the future. How are new attorneys supposed to compete?
Some law students, whether they have passed the bar or not, are actively trying to leave the legal profession because it is not what they
were promised thought it was going to be. Wherever you look online, there are lists of ideas for what type of employment or career to pursue with your law degree. The ideas are down right shameful. Why? Because they are still within the legal profession and do not require a law degree! It’s like cutting a kid from the football team and asking him to be the water boy. Seriously? And don’t call the jobs on your lists a way out of the practice of law when they are still in the practice of law. Just because you are not the hired hit man anymore doesn’t mean you’re not working for the Mob when you drive the family car. You’re still in the family.
In no particular order, the most insulting job ideas for people who can’t pass the bar/need out of the legal profession/can’t find a job as an attorney:
Don’t laugh, I saw this listed. Most judges start out clerking for a judge learning the ropes. Arguably, clerking actually requires a law degree, but serving as a judge does not. Judges can be appointed regardless of their lack of actual knowledge or experience in the legal system. Most clerkships are filled by current law students while some are full timers. But if your résumé includes “failed bar, need job” or “can’t find attorney job, need job,” good luck. And if you’re trying to find an alternative to practicing law, why would you want to surround yourself with people who practice law?
So basically, do all the same work an attorney does minus any kind of discretion or judgment, get paid less, and receive less recognition for it. Also, does not require a law degree.
3. Legal Publisher/Law Librarian
Unless you are fascinated with book bindings (I know a law librarian that is, he couldn’t be happier), why would you want to be surrounded by the very books that tortured you through law school? Why would you want to work with them every day? Get paid less than what an attorney gets paid to understand the technicalities of research, citation, and current law better than the attorneys understand them.
4. Legal Recruiter
Let’s see, I can’t find a job as an attorney for one reason or another or I want out of the profession, so I’m going to recruit people within the profession. Law degrees required for this job: zero.
5. Law Professor
“Welcome to your first day of class. A little about me, I graduated three years ago from a not top 100 law school, but a decent one. I couldn’t pass the bar so I went back to my not so great law school and got an L.L.M. and took odd jobs until applying for this one. I have $105,000 in student loans. I’ve never practiced in our subject area which is, let’s see here, oh yes, employment law, but I’ve read a lot about it and I got a good grade on the final. With that out of the way, let’s begin today’s lecture.”
6. Deposition Videographer
This gem came from Santa Clara Law’s website. Can someone say “water boy?” You can’t get a job asking the hard questions and pinning down pesky deponents to get information, but you can operate a cheap camera and a lap top. Law degree required? Nope, not even a bachelor’s is necessary to know how to hit “record.”
7. Law Firm Administration
This winner is listed at Ole Miss’ website. The heading is on the page for “Non-Legal” jobs, am I the only one to spot the irony?
People who go to law school have interesting personality traits. A disposition of pessimism, proclivity to alcoholism, and a higher incidence of divorce than the general population. Recommending that these people in turn provide psychoanalysis and life advice to vulnerable people is probably not a good idea. It’s like asking a convicted felon to teach kids how to stay out of jail or asking Miley Cyrus and Lindsey Lohan how to look and act professional.
Consulting in what exactly? Obviously not with respect to the law because if you don’t have a bar license you can’t give legal advice, so who would pay you to consult? Also, who wants advice from a rookie? If you didn’t pass the bar or can’t find a job, you’re going to be consulting people based on experience you gained prior to law school in a different profession, which of course you could have done without the law degree. Telling me I could go do what I was doing before I went to law school is not helpful, especially if I was at Starbucks. If I’m trying to get out of the legal profession, I don’t think consulting people one the law is much different than providing legal advice. Sounds like all I’ve done is change the title from Janitor to Hygiene Technician.
Vague? You mean I could start a business? Seeing as just spent $100k+ on a law degree, I don’t have the money and I can’t get the money to start one. You mean I should go back to my old job? I probably went to law school because I wasn’t satisfied with my previous job or never had one to begin with (Starbucks doesn’t count). I should chalk up the antithesis which is to become a community agitator a la Al Sharpton and shake people down for money. All I need is to find a good controversy and start making some noise.