January 4, 2011

"Some of the resumes that have come across my desk are from attorneys who have good skills and impressive work histories, and they are offering to work for free."

"Rather than sit at home with no salary and nothing to do, many of these attorneys are offering to work for free in exchange for something to put on their resumes. Their strategy is to keep their resumes fresh with the hopes of finding something long term."

Are you looking for a law job — facing competition like that?

Via Instapundit, who says: "It’s like there’s some kind of . . . higher education bubble . . . that’s bursting or something."

61 comments:

Tom Faranda said...

Time for a few lawyer jokes.

Titus said...

Can anyone in the Madison area recommend a fabulous dog salon?

Price isn't an issue.

They need to compete full anal compressions on each rare clumber.

Thanks dolls

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I heard from a solo attorney a few days ago who said that she had advertised for a one-day-a-week, file clerk. She got 60-something resumes, including at least 5 from attorneys.

- Lyssa (who went to law school in 2006, when it seemed like a good idea, and graduated in 2009, when it most certainly did not)

Curtiss said...

Time for a few lawyer jokes.

The lovely and vivacious Curtissette (my daughter) has a J.D. and a LLM. She's currently clerking for a judge. It's a job that pays practically nothing. In fact, it does pay nothing. She's doing it without pay.

The only lawyer joke here is apparently on me.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

What, they're too lazy to chase ambulances? Never read Grisham's Rainmaker?

I've long presumed that the proliferation of 1-800-SUE-THEM ads on TV was a sign that there were too many lawyers for the demand, and they were desperately trying to create demand. But this goes to a whole new level. Get a law degree, pass the bar, become an unpaid intern!

shoutingthomas said...

The first law firm I worked for in NYC, way the hell back in (maybe) 1975 was a startup created by 4 Jewish grads of NYU. Today, that firm has over 300 lawyers.

The law firm experienced stratospheric expansion in the 30 year period after 1975. 1000 lawyer firms became common.

Could it be that the amount of work for lawyers it limited? Just how lawyered up does a society need to be? How many product liability and class action lawsuits do we need?

Perhaps this news, that the market for lawyers is closing down, is good news for everybody who isn't a lawyer or an employee of a law firm.

Larry J said...

Gee, maybe the law of supply and demand applies to lawyers. Who knew?

With over a million lawyers in the US (roughly one out of every 300 people), perhaps it's time to address the supply side of the equation. Having a glut of lawyers can lead to all sorts of undesirable consequences for our country. As it stands now, lawyers will be the death of America, if not the entire western world.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Curtiss, the real joke will be when she tries to turn that clerkship into a job. Clerkships are supposed to be the brass ring of the law school experience- great experience, great connections, law firms just dying to scoop up clerks.

I clerked 2009-2010 (and I had a paying position, at least), and all it got me was a bunch of apologetic, personalized phone calls and letters about how much they'd really *like* to hire me, but just couldn't. Better than the usual form letters, but not by much. (It's not just me; I have a few friends and former classmates still clerking (some are 1 yr, some are 2) who are facing the same problems.)

- Lyssa (Summa Cum Laude baby)

Triangle Man said...

@Titus

The most fab is Ruffin it Resort.

Alex said...

Summa Cum Feel the Noize

YoungHegelian said...

As someone who now has to deal with hiring the youngsters, it bugs me to no end when they expect the keys to the kingdom to be given them on the basis of their paper credentials.

The truth is there are no degrees that will make one rich. Upper middle class, yes, but not rich.

Getting rich involves either corporate ownership or creating new content (e.g a phone app or Lady GaGa).

If a young person asked me what to do for a job, I'd say become a good salesman. I don't particularly like sales people, but there's always a job for the guy who can sell a bucket of snow to an Eskimo.

traditionalguy said...

Lawyers in courts are the sole tool used to create the rights to own our property. It is not a birthright. It is a traditional method that can be revoked by the next Progressive SOB that can delude folks into hating lawyers and judges that defend it. How are the lawyers and private property doing in Venezuela these days that have not already been shot or arrested by Chavez?

shoutingthomas said...

How are the lawyers and private property doing in Venezuela these days that have not already been shot or arrested by Chavez?

Who suggested doing away with lawyers?

I suggested that we may have more than enough.

Too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing indeed.

Titus said...

Thanks Triangle Man.

I think it is suppress not compress the glands.

I want them to be able to pop those babies.

Pogo said...

It ain't just lawyers.

Architects, journalists, graphic designers, 'Fashion Merchandising', education, and on and on.

It's hell to be in your late 20s-early 30s these days.

They'll be a lost generation because of FDR part 2.

d-day said...

Yep - I know people doing that. Part of the problem is that attorneys are useless right out of law school. There are lots of jobs out there, but not for new graduates--they're for people with 1-2 years experience. My understanding is that new grads are offering to work for free to get over the hump, like a self-funded apprenticeship.

I don't know if this is the bubble bursting, or more of a comment on how woefully useless law school is at practical education. Probably both.

Still sucks though. Don't go to law school, kids!!

Sixty Grit said...

"Are looking for a law job — facing competition like that?"

Perhaps they could work as proofreaders.

Sixty Grit said...

Or, they could express canine anal glands - seems appropriate.

Larry J said...

Lawyers in courts are the sole tool used to create the rights to own our property.

And all too often, lawyers and courts are tools to take away our property rights. Kelo, anyone?

Scott M said...

This is the flip-side of all the studies showing x% higher salaries for college grads and grad school grads vs high school only, isn't it? It doesn't matter how much your salary is in net terms, if your monthly school loan payments reduce you to less usable income than a sheet metal worker with a HS diploma who was probably forced to pay for his vocational training up front or as he went.

Pastafarian said...

Despite the fact that there are real people suffering from this, and I really like lyssa from her comments in other threads....I can't help but feel a little schadenfreude here.

Not with respect to you specifically, lyssa, and I really hope that you find a job. But with respect to lawyers in general...

I'm in manufacturing. I wonder how many of you lawyers would last if your competition wasn't just Sheister & Sheister across town, but also Lucky Sunshine Lawyer Firm of Ningbo province, China.

You might have to downgrade your beemer to a Saab.

How many manufacturers have been driven out of business by Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe? I'm really having a hard time mustering up much sympathy.

William said...

I'm starting to feel a twinge of sympathy. Dentists, I understand, had the same problem after that damned fluoride ruined the dental caries business. But they adjusted, and got into teeth whitening. Who knows what wonders one million unemployed lawyers will visit upon us?

Scott M said...

Who knows what wonders one million unemployed lawyers will visit upon us?

If you give them a million typewriters, will they write Shakespeare?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Pasta, you know I adore you, too. But keep in mind that for every case that you complain about, there's a lawyer (lawyers, really) on both sides- Kelo had attorneys, although they were bested by the attorneys of City of New London; a business getting driven under by Dewey, Chettum, & Howe needs to hire its own lawyers to fight them off. I dreamed of defending doctors from the John Edwards of the world, but it wasn't to be.

Oh, and we do have foreign competition; you just have to make up an Indian name, rather than Chinese, but it's there. And believe me, I'll be making do on my Mustang for another hundred thousand miles, at the very least.

But thanks for the well wishes; I'm doing OK, picking up work where I can and sort of independant contractoring for a firm. It's unpredicatable, and I'm not sure what the future holds, and it's certainly not what I planned, but I'm OK. Just get frustrated about it every now and then.

- Lyssa

lyssalovelyredhead said...

They'll be a lost generation because of FDR part 2.

I'm interested in this concept, the "lost generation"- what do you think it means for the future?

At the risk of giving this blog too much personal information, I'm thinking that there's a decent chance that my husband and I won't ever have children, due to this recession. We'll make our mortgage and grocery bills, and save for retirement most likely, but I wonder how many of the next generation is simply not going to be there because people in my generation, given a level of control that was not available in the great depression, chose to wait, and wait, and wait.

- Lyssa

Class factotum said...

I wonder what would happen if English professors had to face market forces. Fortunately, in Pennsylvania at least, they are unionized, so get guaranteed raises. Doesn't matter that PhDs are a dime a dozen - let's overpay the professors we have.

Larry J said...

Pasta, you know I adore you, too. But keep in mind that for every case that you complain about, there's a lawyer (lawyers, really) on both sides- Kelo had attorneys, although they were bested by the attorneys of City of New London; a business getting driven under by Dewey, Chettum, & Howe needs to hire its own lawyers to fight them off. I dreamed of defending doctors from the John Edwards of the world, but it wasn't to be.

So, if a farmer is being attacked by locusts, he should get locusts of his own? When a group of lawyers attack a business on a trumped up class action suit, the lawyers are fighting to enrich themselves while the business is fighting to survive. The money the business spends defending itself is money that could've been better used to expand the business. Instead, it's pissed away fighting off the locusts.

Your assertion that the solution to too many lawyers is more lawyers is not only self-serving, it brings to mind the old Mafia protection rackets: "Nice little business you have there. It'd be a shame if anything bad happened to it."

Perhaps RICO statutes should be enacted against predatory law firms.

William said...

@Lyssa: If you had the intelligence and discipline necessary to successfuly complete law school and a clerkship, you will have the skills necessary to open up a lemonade stand further down the road. Those weren't like wasted years in a drug stupor or writing a novel that sold two hundred copies. You have learned many Latinate words that are far beyond the ken of most people, and something always opens up eventually.....God, is there anything more fun than cheering up despondent attorneys.

Scott M said...

@Lyssa

Coming out of the ruins of a first marriage as a non-custodial father, I was dead-set against having any more kids. For different reasons than you, but the sum is still the same.

Almost twenty years later (and three more kids) later, I would strongly advise you not to wait for two reasons. First, the practical. I don't know how old you are, but you do NOT want to be raising small children when you're in your forties. We simply weren't designed for it :) You want them to be leaving or nearly gone by then.

Secondly, the more intangible. When you get older, truly older, and don't have children...well, I've never seen anything more sad in my life. My mother worked at a retirement center for years. The residents without children were horribly unhappy. And there's no let up. Each "family" oriented holiday that rolls around, each siblings' kids' achievements or milestone, will hurt in a place you might not even knows exists yet.

Scott M said...

And whatever you decide to do, overlook the typing errors in the previous comment.

shoutingthomas said...

At the risk of giving this blog too much personal information, I'm thinking that there's a decent chance that my husband and I won't ever have children, due to this recession.

If you are making the decision to have children based on this, your values are seriously out of whack.

If you love your husband and he loves you, have children. Have children and then figure out how to provide. Toss out the balance sheet. Doesn't have anything to do with this part of your life.

In the old days, we used to say: "God will provide."

And He does.

Scott M said...

Have children and then figure out how to provide. Toss out the balance sheet. Doesn't have anything to do with this part of your life.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. I have a sister-in-law with 8 kids (four fathers, each of which she was "in love with" at the time), who perpetually between jobs and on food stamps. She has already made the declaration that her latest kid will not be her last because it wouldn't be fair to father # 4 to only have one of his own.

You simply cannot take your brain out of your head and toss it over your shoulder when considering these things and run on emotion alone. You'd make a good lib, ST.

chuck b. said...

You can express your dog's anal glands yourself. It isn't that hard. Usually a technician does it, not the vet. You just need someone to hold the dog while you put your finer into its butt.

They anal glands are located just inside the rectum at 5 and 7 o'clock. Glove yourself, lube your index finger and insert it into the dog's rectum. The hard, swollen gland feels like a marble. Massage it between your thumb and finger until it discharges. Have some paper towels ready to absorb the discharge. It *stinks*.

Pogo said...

shoutingthomas, many, many people made the decision not to have kids during the 30s for this very reason.

I think it'll be a lost generation because there will be a decade of nothing, then things will slowly improve. Careers will not start. Families will not start.

I don't have any answers, but my 3 kids face a damned long haul.

shoutingthomas said...

You simply cannot take your brain out of your head and toss it over your shoulder when considering these things and run on emotion alone. You'd make a good lib, ST.

What in the world does having babies have to do with politics?

You can over think things too.

If you're sitting down with a spreadsheet to decide whether you can "afford" kids, then your marriage is a farce and you need to move on.

shoutingthomas said...

Well, maybe I'm in the minority, but my kids are doing great.

I've got one grandkid from my oldest daughter. My youngest daughter is about to get married and she wants to have kids.

Both my daughters have very good jobs.

I didn't have any money and my prospects weren't so good when I had kids. It can work both ways, you know. Having kids focused my mind and my energy.

I put together a successful life because I had kids. Having those mouths to feed can really focus your mind.

Scott M said...

If you're sitting down with a spreadsheet to decide whether you can "afford" kids, then your marriage is a farce and you need to move on.

In a word, bullshit.

This isn't to say babies are scheduled because two of mine were not. It simply irresponsible to not take pains to regulate yourself, your behavior and your finances in such a way as to not burden others.

You're advocating that's it's just hunky-dory to want a kid, try to have a kid, while one parent is, say unemployed and the other works at McDonalds. What sort of life is that for the kid and what kind of morale do you think will pervade that household?

Yes, have as many rugrats as you please without any nod to the fiscal consequences. Excellent plan and quite conservative of you.

jerryofva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jerryofva said...

The illusion of monetary success has drawn many people into law. The median salary for lawyers has never been all that high. The numbers I located were about $110K but as in many professions the starting salaries are quite low and not enough to cover the level of debt incurred to get the degree. When you come out of school with $100k in debt plus whatever undergraduate loans that are still outstanding making 50K a year doesn't cut it. With almost half the lawyers making less then $100k it's a very poor investment.

TosaGuy said...

"With over a million lawyers in the US (roughly one out of every 300 people), perhaps it's time to address the supply side of the equation"

Our Army has only a little over 500,000 soldiers...so we literally have two armies of lawyers in this nation. This makes sense because its one half against the other half.

damikesc said...

My wife and I had a child when we barely were making it with both of us working and one kid. She quit her job to be a stay at home mom...but we are, somehow, making it. It ain't easy, but we are surviving.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

So, if a farmer is being attacked by locusts, he should get locusts of his own? When a group of lawyers attack a business on a trumped up class action suit, the lawyers are fighting to enrich themselves while the business is fighting to survive. The money the business spends defending itself is money that could've been better used to expand the business. Instead, it's pissed away fighting off the locusts.

I'm not saying that it's the way it should be in a perfect world, but it is the way that it is. If you are being attacked by locusts, you don't hire locusts, but you do hire an exterminator. And the money that goes to the exterminator could have been used for other things.

It someone wanted to take your propoerty unfairly (as in, say, Kelo v. New London), would you not hire a lawyer? If not, then what, just give up? Fight it yourself, pro se? Simply refuse until the sheriff drags you off, kicking and screaming? If you want to fight well against lawyers, you need lawyers, it's as simple as that.

I'm not arguing that someone needs to hire lawyers (although I am available!); I'm only arguing that the reasons for wanting to go into law are not as un-nobel as people often think- that for every bad legal argument, there's another lawyer arguing the opposite. I went to law school with the intent of being the opposite of bad legal arguments.

- Lyssa

shoutingthomas said...

Don't know how we got to this, but the baby discussion reminded me of the movie "Idiocracy."

All the wrong people are having babies. The poor and stupid just keep popping them out. Meanwhile, the education don't reproduce at all or only have one designer baby.

The result: the stupidification of society.

Another result: whole societies (the most productive and educated ones) dying out. Like Japan.

Scott, I still haven't got a clue why you think having babies is a political issue. Nor do I have any idea why you think that adhering to a political tag interests me.

Scott M said...

ST, a recession, which is her stated reason for hesitating, is primarily an economic issue and the core of the discussion here.

So I thought...

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Re: Having kids- Whoa, didn't mean to get so far off topic! I was just using that as an example of long term effects on the lives of people in my generation.

I'm a couple weeks away from 31, so I'm being a little bit overly pessimistic, but I'm not a fan of over 35-ers having babies, so time feels short. Also, I'm generally against day care- that's what's really holding us back now. We could make it work, with day care, I'm sure, but I simply don't like the idea, but don't think that we can wait as long as it's going to take to get to a position where my husband can leave work. I was talking to my partner yesterday about the (low) workload, and he said "give it 2 years, we'll get there", which sounds great. But in 2 years, I'll be 33. I certainly don't want an only child, so that's really pushing things.

So, I don't know. It's frustrating, and I don't know what we'll wind up doing. I'm just thinking of how, overall and assuming that my experience is fairly common in my generation, the long term effects of the lost generation will play out.

I'm whining again; I'm sorry.

- Lyssa

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Don't know how we got to this, but the baby discussion reminded me of the movie "Idiocracy."

That's the sort of thing that I was thinking about- long term effects. Of kids not born, of careers not had, of ideas not followed upon, etc. Idiocracy was an amusing characature of the idea, but, realistically speaking, what is the long term impact.

Pogo said...

You're not whining, but wondering.

The long term impact is known to the generation that entered the workforce in their 20s during the Depression.

Fewer kids, lower expectations, thrifty, conservative, hard, responsible. A smaller subset became radicals.

David said...

You get what you pay for.

madAsHell said...

Lyssa -

Don't fool yourself!!

Children are a blessing!! Although, they may cause you to forget that from time to time.

1. It is best to get it done before 30 years of age...but that ain't written in stone.

2. Forget about your bank balance. We were living paycheck-to-paycheck. My parents paid the doctor bills. There were other "loans" that were never re-paid as well.

3. I've been married for 30 years. If it weren't for the kids, then we would have nothing to discuss.

....and yes, I visit my 85 year old mother every day.

Children - It's the social security program that THEY don't want you to know about.

Scott M said...

I was never advocating ending a pregnancy already in progress, for lack of a better way of putting it, simply because of economic concerns. I was suggesting that if you're using precautions and are trying to decide if you want to drop those precautions and have kids, it's ridiculous and irresponsible to do so if you're already struggling.

William said...

There's apparently a market for watching fat women eat themselves to death. I don't understand the dynamics of such voyeurism, but it undeniably exists and the women involved make a living at it. (If living is the right word.) I would suggest to Lyssa that there is probably a much larger market for watching lawyers suffer and starve. How much do you think Trooper York would pay for the privilege of watching the anguish on your face when you receive your first eviction notice. There's a living to be made here. Feed the juristophobes further lamentations and you will achieve wealth beyond the dreams of avarice.

reader_iam said...

Lyssa: I didn't meet the right person until I was in my 30s and didn't marry until my mid 30s. And we didn't end up with a child until I was 39 (and then after heartbreaking miscarriage which, quite literally, changed my life), and then were was to be only one. (To be sure, I am so blessed and lucky to have the son I do!) I appreciate Scott's point, to be sure, but when I'm asked such questions IRL by people in your situation, I tend to caution against overthinking and overwaiting. A cadillac childhood isn't a requirement, and I can tell you that I know many homeschooling families, in particular, who do it, and even do it well, on a shoestring. Just my 2 cents... .

Pogo said...

I raised kids poor, too. I was raised not-well-off. I make no recommendations here at all.

My comments simply mean that in aggregate, people will vote with their feet, as well as their children (or lack thereof) in deciding their fates in a severe economic downturn.

Such are the lessons of the past.

Youngblood said...

"I'm interested in this concept, the 'lost generation'- what do you think it means for the future?"

I can't speak for Pogo, but the idea that what people call Generation X is a new Lost Generation is hardly new. This theory, first expressed in Strauss & Howe's Generations, predates not only President Obama, but Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and even the coining of the term "Generation X" itself (the book was published in 1991).

I can't go into a lot of detail in a blog comment, but the basic idea is that four generational archetypes repeat over a period of roughly eighty to a hundred years.

The whole thing sounds pretty far out, but given that Strauss & Howe not only identified Generation X (and the Millennial Generation) before anybody else, but predicted the way that the 1990's and 2000's would play out, it's not as crazy as it sounds. Which as why all branches of the US armed forces and a lot of large corporations have hired Strauss & Howe's consulting firm at one point or another.

Youngblood said...

Oh, yeah, what does that actually mean for the future?

If Strauss & Howe are correct, the unique combination of factors that Generation X faced (underprotected childhood, coming of age in a period of economic/moral/social uncertainty) will produce an unromantic practical hard-nosed DIY generation that'll buckle down and get things done in midlife.

In fact, if Strauss & Howe are correct, we're heading toward (or already in) a historical moment on the level of World War II, the Civil War, or the Revolutionary War. They predicted that this would hit sometime around 2010 back in the mid-1990's as they refined their theory.

I guess we'll have to see how that plays out.

CrankyProfessor said...

Holders of the ph.d. are often willing to work for little more than gas money in order to stay busy.

I was the person hiring at these rates last fall. I felt very bad.

Lyle said...

Yes.

alwaysfiredup said...

Yes. In fact it appears I am exactly one year ahead of Lyssa and in the same predicament. (I am also a redhead; go figure.)

I have what I like to call an "ad hoc" legal career. I do temp and contract jobs for other lawyers when I can find them, and have a few mentors and peers who give guidance with my own five or six clients. I also do some graphic design and facebook consulting on the side. It's bizarre, the pay is low and it's certainly not what I had planned, but it is definitely interesting.

I think law school made me a better writer and salesperson. These are great entrepreneurial skills that help in a wide variety of professions. I think that coupled with the weird authority many people confer on those who introduce themselves as lawyers have opened and will continue to open doors.

My only advice to peers: you must always network, network, network! If you don't have business cards, get them!

Cedarford said...

Larry J said...
Gee, maybe the law of supply and demand applies to lawyers. Who knew?

With over a million lawyers in the US (roughly one out of every 300 people), perhaps it's time to address the supply side of the equation.
====================
America has more lawyers per capita than any nation save Israel. And no other nation is in shooting distance to America and it's Special Friend.

It is all fine and good to have more lawyers than the EU, Japan, Russia, China, and India put together as long as you have an economy that can afford to support "services people" who exist only because the society creates surplus wealth from the "productive people" that actually create wealth.

If you shut down the farmers, miners, manufacturers, innovative capitalists - you are in trouble. You have to borrow to maintain sudden surplus school administrators, healthcare staff for illegal aliens, lawyers, excessive military positions - or you lay those "services people" off.

There is a lot of blame to spread around on how America lost the "wealth" needed to carry the world's most expensive healthcare system, the greatest stockpile of lawyers, a military that spends trillions on behalf of "imperial services" globally.

Tons of blame. Dems grew the Government. Destroyed much of the energy and farming sector with "environmental regs". Republicans came up with supply side economics and gutted US industry with "Free Trade for Freedom Lovers".
The American public got lazy, complacent, and stupid. Every group from seniors (free Bush drugs and mo' COLAS!) to rich Corporatists to Obama's illegals and welfare mommas and gv't employees wanted more free stuff.

It's all got to change. Hopefully without lots of people being starved and cleansed in a 3rd American Revolution.

reader_iam said...

Cedarford's succinct diagnosis is pretty much spot on (with only relatively minor points of departure), IMO.

Alex said...

As usual C4 comes up with another apocalyptic vision of America.