Why did I get a post-graduate degree?

I find myself asking this question more and more lately as I peruse job listings and find countless entries for “personal assistant”, “paralegal”, “secretary”, “sales”, etc.  Nothing that requires a law degree.  When I finally DO find a posting for an attorney, they want 5, 7, 10+ years of experience that I obviously don’t have.  So far I have only found two jobs that were truly entry-level positions.

In the past month, I have sent out countless resumes and cover letters, hoping to at least get an interview.  So far, I’ve only gotten one interview for a law clerk position and it was given to someone else.  How does one stay positive in a job market like this?  (Seriously, I’m asking.)

Big firms around the country are laying off attorneys by the hundreds and yet, somehow, after graduating from a tier 4 law school, I’m supposed to be able to find a job when I’m competing against people who either (a) went to a better law school than I did, or (b) have been working for 10 years and have all the experience a firm is looking for.  I have a slight added bonus that I graduated cum laude, but apparently that doesn’t get me very far.

The job front is even more depressing (if possible) when looking for my preferred area of the law, tax.  Apparently I should have just been an accounting major in college, then become a CPA.  I know there are tax attorneys out there, but apparently none of them are hiring.  I posted my resume on CareerBuilder and somewhere put that my preference is “tax”.  Therefore, the “job matches” e-mails that I receive all call for accountants.  In another set of job match e-mails I get, it’s all “online survey takers”, “work part-time from home” scammy looking things.

For any current law students, I suggest getting a job in a firm during law school as a clerk.  This is something I didn’t do because I knew that I would be moving to a different state and wouldn’t be able to continue working there once I graduated.  This was probably one of the worst decisions I could have possibly made.  Get a job with a firm and pray that they offer you a job when you graduate.

For any future law students, don’t do it.  I know there are those gung-ho people who will say, “but this is what I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do.”  Well, is it still going to be your dream when you are studying for the bar exam, without a job (and no good prospects even with the amount of resumes you’ve sent out), knowing that you are going to have to start paying off your ridiculous amount of loans in less than six months?  I’m sure the market will get better, but when?  Now that I have that JD, I can’t go just get a job anywhere because I’m overqualified for what I can find.  No one wants to hire someone that is only going to stick around long enough to find a better job that they really want.

I can only imagine that I am not the only recent graduate with this same problem, so I have a question for you:

Secondarily, I’m wondering if other people are having these same problems lawyers are:

I’d also love any discussion anyone has about this topic.

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4 thoughts on “Why did I get a post-graduate degree?

  1. I voted that I am outside the legal field and have a job, but not in my field – bc if I had decided to keep working with my BS in Psyc instead of going back to school I would be working in a job that had nothing to do with my psyc degree.

  2. I graduated from law school, opted NOT to take the Bar, went through the police academy and became a juvenile probation months… decided to take the Bar, passed the Bar. Quit my job. Got a new job as an associate attorney to be closer to my Mom who had just been diagnosed with cancer. Stayed there four years, had a baby. Didn’t want the long days anymore, because my baby was my focus… and am now clerking for 2 judges. Life rocks at this moment, but I make no money and may never get my loans paid off. I journal to my child and told her… DO NOT have big dreams in the working world… get married, have a baby and stay home and love her. If it weren’t for these stupid loans, I’d be home with her all day, every day. AND… I have never heard any attorney recommend that some prospective law student go to law school. They always recommend doing something else. I will never suggest lawyering as a career. It absolutely sucks, but I hope this isn’t a downer post. If anything, this is what my advice is… Have a baby. That’s when my life began. Haha.

    And don’t freak out about the Bar… It’s easier than people make it out to be. 😉

  3. OH… But I do need to say that I didn’t go to law school wanting to be a lawyer… so at least you had some desire to do it, right? I wanted to go into federal law enforcement… and ultimately got married instead. 😉 And… like you… got married immediately after law school. Haha.

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