Friday, January 18, 2013

First Job out of Law School

Your first job after law school may not be your dream job.  I think it is important to focus on the positive...it is a job.  I encourage you to be broad in your search and even consider non-legal, but law-related positions, such applying for positions in state or federal goverment,  public policy or non-profit organizations, local legislature or lobbying firms, or businesses with compliance or contract departments. You can use these jobs to get work experience, while you network and apply for the type of job that you really want.  Newly minted law graduates are competing with lawyers with more experience and in this economy, the employers have the advantage. However, as a law graduate or a newly licensed attorney, you are much more competetive in non-legal positions.  I even know some lawyers who have decided to stay in non-legal jobs, because there was more opportunity for advancement than working as an attorney. 

3 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more. This is great advice. It may not be your dream job but it IS a job. Be open and grab opportunities.

    Shane, orlando corporate attorney

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  2. "However, as a law graduate or a newly licensed attorney, you are much more competetive in non-legal positions"

    I have to disagree with you on this point. Your law degree is actually a liability in terms of non-legal jobs.

    Don't get me wrong, if you were a Consultant or a XYZ before you went to law school, then you degree with give you a leg up. However, if you are like the majority of students who are coming out of law school with no significant working experience then you just fitted yourself with a $50-$100k albatross.

    If I run a business I really don't give a damn about your fancy legal degree outside of getting free legal advice. Chance are you are going to demand a higher salary because of that degree and if not then you will probably bolt for the door the SECOND you give a job offer in REAL legal position.

    Why am I going to risk that when I can hire a non-JD who is just as smart, just as green, but more likely to stay onboard regardless of the direction the legal winds may blow?

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  3. You make a great point. I would say it depends on the job and what that individual lawyer and employer wants. Yes some may just leave as soon as a "better" job becomes available. Some employers will hire a JD (perhaps even knowing that they may leave) because of their knowledge. Others may decide like you to hire someone who may be more likely to say. Regardless you make a great point. Thanks for bringing another view.

    For those of you who are working while searching for the job that you really want, I encourage you to be the best employee that you can while you are there. You aren't doing yourself or your employer any favors if you are bringing a bad attitude to the workplace.

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