Employment After Law School: The Cold Truth
It’s ugly out there. That’s the cold, hard truth for recent law school graduates looking for jobs. Sure, some still get the six-figure starting salaries with prestigious firms, but most don’t.
And you likely won’t either.
Stings a little, doesn’t it? But if you’re in law school, it’s nothing you haven’t already heard. The rumblings of trouble in the bar started shortly after the economic meltdown of 2008 and they’ve only built to a resounding crescendo since. In fact, competing for a job with a top law firm these days resembles a bar fight more than anything.
According to the American Bar Association, only about 62 percent of the 46,776 students who graduated from law school secured full-time, long-term employment in jobs that required them to pass the bar—and only 18,545 were with law firms with two or more lawyers.
So what do you do? You’ve already committed at least a year of your life to one of the most challenging, frustrating and masochistic endeavors anyone could ever dream of. You’ve put personal plans on hold. And you’ve likely incurred a significant amount of debt.
It’s too late to quit, so what do you do? You shift your paradigm, that’s what. You stop listening to other people. Forget about the perceived prestige and impressive paychecks lawyers receive. Redefine “success.”
The legal industry has changed (what industry hasn’t) since the Great Recession. Clients want more for less. Technology is taking over. Big Law has lost its luster.
Which means it’s the perfect time for you make a move.
Stop thinking about the way lawyers worked in the past and start thinking about the way they’ll work in the future. What industries are you interested in that are poised to take off—and how can you use the knowledge you’re gaining in law school to be a part of it (as a lawyer or in another capacity)?
A J.D. isn’t just useful for people who want to practice the law. It demonstrates critical thinking skills, work ethic, professionalism and the ability to achieve something that the vast majority of other people can’t. How can you use it to differentiate yourself from the pack?
Even within the legal profession, there are and will be opportunities. Think about what areas of law will be in demand—then tailor your career trajectory toward those areas.
Or, you could plan on being part of the bar fight.
This article was written by FindMyLawTutor.com.
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