Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where Will All The Lawyers And Law Students Go?

Like the crawl on the bottom of the cable new channels, the news of laid off lawyers and law students not finding jobs continues to scroll. Each day, several times a day, we read about this BigLaw firm ditching associates, partners, this medium size law firm merging with that medium size law firm, law students everywhere wondering if they will even get an interview.

Why hire a law student for $100,000 when there's plenty of laid off lawyers looking for something close to that amount?

One thing I haven't read: Where's everyone going?

One day you're a lawyer at BigLaw, feeding the machine, polising the golden handcuffs, the next day, you're at home, reading about the demise of your colleagues on the internet.

So where is everyone? Working at Best Buy? Living off savings? Hanging out shingles? Merely freaking out?

I'd like to know. Seems like there's plenty of people to answer this question.

If you're a laid off lawyer or dream filled law student, consider voting in the appropriate poll over there on the right.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit



Anonymous said...

I graduated this past May, cum laude, and in the top third of my class. I have experience working for the Department of Justice and in the general counsel's office of a federal agency in the civil area of law. I have experience with criminal defense side as well. I have experience working on family law cases. And I have glowing recommendations. I passed the bar exam on the first shot.

Despite all of this, I have, as yet, been unable to secure a position, and I'm looking into going solo. It's not good out there. :/

Anonymous said...

I would take a job in the public sector first, Public Defender - etc. If you do it right - the jobs will come to you. There is constant turn-over in prosecutor's, PD, and Legal Aid offices. I started this way and managed to work my way into a very good position in the matter of a 4 short years... 3 different/increasingly better jobs all hired without even needing an interview because they knew my work. I also turned down several other offers, along the way.
It will give you a good feel of the legal community and let you get to know your Judges and courthouse staff well too.

Anonymous said...

I'm responding to this after seeing it on Twitter.

I've gone solo twice, once straight out of law school, which didn't go well, then again after a a couple of Big FIrms and a stint in a NYC DA's office, which did.

It's hard out of law school. There is no reason a client is going to want to hire you; you really have no skills, and few contacts. If this isn't true for you, great, but it is true for most.

If you are trying right out of law school, see if you can trade some (that's SOME, don't get screwed) hours of work a month for some space, phone answering and use of a conference room of an established lawyer who does something you can stand doing and who maybe has some overflow, or wants you to do some appearances. Then network your ass off.

If you've lost your job, call everyone you can and let them know. See if you can get a setup somewhat like described above, just to have a place you have to get dressed and go to, and that has human beings to talk with. Do something toward looking for a job each day. Give yourself days off, but make sure you do things for your career on the other ones.

Go to places where you can meet people in your field. Talk to them. Be honest (use common sense there).

And remember that this happens every so often, and that most people practicing since before '96 or so have been through this at least once. Lots of us remember, and will do what we can to help others, even if it's only lend an ear and an occasional reality check.

One thing that personally worked for me is that, when I set up practice the second time, I for about 6-8 months took only civil and privately paid criminal cases before I put myself on the public defenders panel. That way I could fill in my time with the PD cases at their lower rates, rather than become overwhelmed with them right away and never be able to fit in the good stuff.

Good luck

Ron Fox said...

(I apologize if this appears twice. I thought I posted it previously but I do not see it in the comments.)

To anonymous who is considering going solo, I have two websites that you should look at. The first is Carolyn Elefant's It contains a wealth of helpful information and resources. The other is Susan Cartier Liebels's on Building a Law Practice. Susan is also in the process of establishing an interesting on-line "school" for solo practitioners called Solo Practice University, SPU, which you can get to from her website (and Carolyn Elefant has just joined the faculty)

You might also considering joining Twitter where both of them can be found.

Good luck

Ron Fox

san diego lawyer said...

There are definitely areas of law that are always in demand. The trouble is finding them. It does depend on where you're located, population demographics, etc. Good luck to everyone in the hunt!

Bankruptcy Attorney California said...

Times are tough! My bakery business went belly up and I unfortunately decided recently to file for bankruptcy. If there are any good lawyers in San Diego, CA, or if you know of any, please let me know!

lucas law center said...

I have one friend, he graduated law two years ago but until now he still have no work. He don't want to be stay in home that is why he work on a factory.