Thursday, February 25, 2010

Interview Update

I had my interview, and as promised, I'm providing you with the details.

The position was for a computer company. It's not a development position. It's more of an analyst position, but familiarity with databases and programming concepts are required.

I met with two people (not simultaneously) to discuss the position.

The first person worked on the business side of the company. We had a good discussion about the company, my background, and my interests. For the most part, the focus was on my prior full time work experience where I detailed some of the analysis and computer skills I had developed at my previous position. I think I was able to convey both my aptitude regarding and interest in the main functions of the position.

I would reveal to you how I handled the "Why law school?" question. The question, however, didn't really come up (at least not in the way I expected it would). Eventually, the first interviewer noted that a number of my internships were related to the law. I actually took the opportunity to explain how those positions and law school helped me obtain and enhance a number of transferable skills. He seemed to wholeheartedly agree, and aside from asking how I liked my law school, he didn't raise the subject again.

The second person to interview me was a tech guy. He was harder to read, and it seemed like his role was mostly to vet me on my technical skills. I think I was able to demonstrate that I had adequate IT knowledge as well as the ability and desire to learn anything else computer related that was necessary.

After going over my resume, he did wonder why I went to law school if I wanted to get into the tech world. I just informed him that I wanted to go to grad school and that the JD was a versatile degree. I think he was more curious than skeptical, and he didn't seem to have any problem with my answer. He seemed more concerned with just making sure I had the appropriate technical background.

The three things on which the entire interview seemed to focus were:
  1. My previous work experience
  2. My interest in the company and the position
  3. My computer background and skills
For the most part, it was a pretty straightforward interview. I think this looks like a great job that would allow me to get into the industry in which I'm interested and help me glean some additional computer skills in which I am also interested.

Obviously, I'm not guaranteed the job, but I'm glad that I appear to have a strong enough background that some companies aren't going to concern themselves with my unorthodox academic path.

If I can't secure this position, I'm at least encouraged to forge ahead looking at computer related jobs. Even if it requires a little bit more self-study, I think I can eventually find a job I'll like.

I'll keep everybody posted.

Monday, February 22, 2010


As most of you know, I'm usually not one for short posts, but until I find out how this recent job prospect turns out (one way or the other), I don't think I'm going to have time for any "feature" posts. I'll try to provide some shorter posts (like this one) until then.

Also, I know that my posting rate has declined remarkably from about once a day in November to about once a week this month. When I first started this blog, I was trying to sort out how I was going to proceed with my job search now that I was convinced I didn't want to be an attorney.

I, therefore, had a lot more time to post articles, create youtube videos, etc. Recently, I've become a lot more proactive with my job search and other endeavors, so I've had less time to invest in this blog. It isn't that I don't have a lot to say, it's just that I don't have as much time to invest in writing as I used to.

Moreover, I really prefer writing long, detailed or creative articles, so it sometimes takes a while for me to create publishable material. I probably have about half a dozen partially completed articles on everything from insurance sales to my bar prep experience sitting in the queue.

In any event, I want to thank everyone for their well wishes regarding my upcoming interview. It will be held later this week. I don't want to give too many details rights now, but I promise to share as much information as possible as I move throughout the process.

Some questions were, however, raised in the comments section of my last post that I'm willing to address:
  • I did work, full time for two years before enrolling in law school
  • The job is in the computer industry - It isn't a development role, but it does require a strong quantitative and computer background
  • I applied via a listing on an on-line job board - no special networking connections - I did submit both a cover letter and a resume
As mentioned, I will be sure to update everyone on my response to the "Why law school?" question in addition to any other pertinent information.

Also, Esq. Never may receive some additional media exposure in the near future. I'll be sure to keep everyone apprised.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good News

I was going to prepare a cynical post for today, but my heart just isn't in it.

Why? Well, I actually had a bright ray of sunshine beam into my otherwise depressing quest to find a job today...or something like that (metaphors aren't my strong suit).

Today, I was asked to come in for an interview. This is a serious, full time position that is not law related at all - in the non-legal world, I think it's called a "job".

Obviously, I can't count my chickens before they hatch, but after sending out reams of resumes with nary a response (not even a rejection letter), this is exciting news. At least I stand a chance of somebody reading my resume.

I'll keep you posted with how I handle the inevitable, "Why on earth did you go to law school?" question.

Also, here's a little bit more good news for all my fellow job seekers. I left my J.D. on my resume. While this may be a fluke, those two letters apparently don't automatically relegate your resume to the circular file.

I have a lot of preparation to do for this interview, but I'll do my best to get another "feature" article out in the near future.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hands-Off Education

Was anyone's driver ed experience like this...?

The instructor walks into the classroom and greets everyone. He informs the class about what a great decision they made in choosing his school and that he looks forward to spending the year with them.

Somebody in the back groans and wonders aloud why they have to spend such an excessive amount of time in class to learn how to drive. The instructor appears sympathetic and apologetically notes that this is the minimum amount of instruction the National Association of Driving Schools permits. He then smiles slightly to himself, and a student in the front row swears she hears him mutter, "Plus, I get more money this way..."

Despite his alleged misgivings about the duration of the course, he does make sure to emphasize the value of the classroom instruction. Again, the class murmurs amongst themselves and an incredulous pupil or two inquires as to how much time will actually be dedicated to operating a motor vehicle.

The instructor dismisses the question by noting that all students will spend a brief time in a simulator that replicates the driving experience. After seeing the shocked looks on the faces of his students, he adds that a few will be allowed to operate an actual automobile under the supervision of an instructor, but these select students will have to decide if they want to drive in the city, in the suburbs, or on the highway.

Now that he has explained the school's approach to driver's ed, he instructs the students to open their text books. Once again, however, he is interrupted. The students want to know why their books are filled with narratives of other people's driving experiences rather than any sort of instructions as to how to operate a motor vehicle or information about the rules of the road.

Irritated, the teacher says that simply memorizing rote instructions and the transit laws won't teach them anything about being effective drivers. The students refuse to relent. They inform the instructor that previous graduates did just fine on the exams by purchasing third party materials that did nothing more than provide step by step instructions and straightforward explanations of the rules for driving.

Exasperated, the instructor grudgingly concedes that some of their protests are valid, but he insists that he must conduct his course in this manner in order to properly prepare the students for driver's license exam. To buttress his justification, he begins to read aloud a sample problem from the state licensing exam:

"Bobby gets into his car and heads towards work. He begins to back out of his driveway as another car comes traveling along down his street in a densely populated area at 35 MPH. After leaving his driveway, he approaches a stop sign (lacking any supplementary information) and prepares to make a left turn onto a busy street. After successfully making the turn, he receives a cell phone call from his friend, Jack.

After traveling on the main street for 1/2 a mile, Bobby then seeks to merge onto the highway. He enters the on ramp and sees a yield sign. After merging onto the highway, Bobby sees flashing emergency lights behind him. Once the situation has resolved, Bobby continues until traffic slows. He notices that all other vehicles are merging to the right, and a police officer is present, directing traffic away from the left two lanes.

Discuss all traffic related issues Bobby faces on his way to work."

After he concludes with the example, one wise acre points out that they will still have to take a supplementary course in order to properly prepare for the driver's license exam. The instructor surprisingly acknowledges this with a sardonic smile. "Yes," he says, "I look forward to teaching that course as well."

There's a reason why this doesn't remind you at all of your driver's ed course: Because this is an absurd way to teach anybody how to do anything! If driver's ed operated like this, we'd all have about a 50% chance of dying on the roads on the way to work in the morning.

Now, I have enough respect for my readers to believe that you all recognized where I was going with this story faster than the average political science student is able to recognize that Animal Farm is an allegory of the history of the Soviet Empire - which, given the current economy, doesn't actually seem so bad right now.*

I also recognize that like with any spoof, the subject matter that is being lampooned is a bit more complex than its detractors give it credit.

Nonetheless, I don't think I'm too far off the mark. Driving schools teach people how to drive. Typing schools teach people how to type. Clown colleges even teach people how to be clowns. Why on earth don't law school actually teach people to be lawyers?

Sure, if the so-called T-14 schools want to bill themselves as academic programs that can't deign themselves to do anything that might suggest that they bear any resemblance to trade schools, so be it. Their students can go off to fancy law firms that want to hire exceedingly bright people to mold into their images. This may be the route tomorrow's elite law firm partners, federal judges, and legal academics should take in order to enter into the upper echelons of society of which us plebeians who couldn't crack a 170 LSAT score can only dream.

For the rest of us TTT graduates, this sort of pretentious hogwash has little relevance to most of the fields where we're likely to end up. People looking to file for bankruptcy, seeking a protection from abuse order, or who need somebody to defend them on their 4th DUI want somebody who knows how to file the right paperwork with the court and what to say and do during a hearing. They don't care if their lawyers can properly IRAC a hypothetical scenario in which somebody's house is simultaneously consumed by two different fires or if they can establish the policy justifications for a utilitarian rather than a retributive approach to crime.

If the employers and clients who are likely to hire us want attorneys who know the law, know the proper procedures, and know the rules of courts, why are these treated as tangential aspects of American legal education? As I alluded to in my above parody, only a small portion of law school is even dedicated to learning how to practice in a simulated environment (trial advocacy classes, etc.). Hands on training (such as clinics and externships) are usually only available to a select number of students, and even if you learn the basics of practicing in immigration court or representing the state in criminal/municipal court, you're only getting experience limited to that one practice area.

Some have said that even for attorneys who work on smaller issues, having a theoretically rigorous education is still necessary. I don't buy it. I worked for a personal injury law firm doing most of the tasks (save appearing in court) that the practicing attorney would have done. When I filled out complaints to submit to the court, there was plenty of research to do regarding the medical issues involved and the facts surrounding the case, but there was precious little legal reasoning involved.

In fact, let me give you the one line of law I included in each of the complaints: "Defendant X had a legal duty to do Y. X breached his duty of care because he didn't do Y. Ergo, X was negligent and the actual and proximate causes of Z's injuries."

You know what that's called on a law school torts exam? A "C-"...if you're lucky. At my office, it was standard cut 'n paste boilerplate.

I'm not joking. I just took a look at an old document I have on my computer to verify this.

Also, while I tend to consider most PI firms to be chop shops, this one was actually a pretty legitimate operation. It was run out of a nice downtown office. The attorney had a great reputation among the local bar, and he even treated me like a human being. We're not talking about some bottom feeder law office run just outside of the projects here.

I found the same dearth of legal reasoning when I interned at a big city prosecutor's office. Having confidence in court and knowing the law was far more important than being able to craft some fancy legal argument for entry level ADA's. Heck, the office just gave all of them crib notes on how to handle most disputes of law anyway. (Not like you couldn't just look these things up using rudimentary high school research skills.)

The one area of practice where it seems like legal acumen and well crafted arguments would be most helpful is appellate advocacy. I do not dispute that well reasoned argumentation is necessary in this field. I just don't see why this requires three years of theoretical-based education.

For one thing, the cynic in me believes that most judges are going to see legal precedent, etc. the way they want to see it regardless of the arguments presented to the court. (If constitutional law isn't just a euphemism for political theory, then I'm really a Supreme Court clerk with too much time on my hands.)

Moreover, appellate advocacy isn't that difficult. You look up the relevant cases, pull out the pertinent arguments, and then analogize them or distinguish them from the present fact pattern. The people who usually win those moot court and advocacy competitions are gifted writers and natural showmen. I don't know if you can teach this in the classroom, but three years of law school certainly isn't the road to improving such skills.

Now, I know I'm no law professor. Maybe I'm just missing that part of the brain that would allow me to recognize what a service learning "legal reasoning" is to America's budding attorneys. Maybe it's a secret they let you in on at Harvard and Yale. Perhaps if I had a financial stake in being able to hold onto a four hour a week job that pays six figures, I'd think differently.

Sadly, I am but a commoner, who never was permitted entry into the ivy covered campuses of America's truly elite schools. Please, therefore, bear with me as I humbly offer my own reasoning as to why I respectfully disagree with any defense of the current law school curriculum:

If you can safely operate a two ton weapon that can reach speeds of over 100 MPH after the state gives you your driver's license, it's inexcusable that you can't competently represent a client after the bar hands you your license to practice law.

Class dismissed.

* NB: Esq. Never is not a commie.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Free Rider Problem

Recently, my less-than-computer-savvy mother somehow downloaded a nasty piece of malware to her PC. This bugger is what is often referred to as a "rootkit". Without wasting too much time with the details, it's essentially software that's so malicious that even experienced systems administrators often times don't bother trying to remove it. Instead, they just back up all necessary data and reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system.

This sort of malware usually disguises itself as a benign program (a trojan) and then when installed proceeds to wreck havoc. If not properly removed, it will usually install all sorts of annoying programs, compromise the security of the system, and cause the OS to operate slowly. If it's improperly removed, the symptoms may not be evident for a while, but the infection will eventually begin to pose problems once again. Essentially, it's a "gift" that keeps on giving.

I think this is a pretty good analogy for law school. It seemed like a good idea at one point. It was probably a dumb idea to go through with it, but the administrators did everything they could to dupe you into attending just like the virus' programmers are able to snooker unwary users into downloading their software. Now that you've loaded yourself up with the debt and wasted three years, it is virtually impossible to put this menace behind you. Sadly, however, there's no option for reformatting and reinstalling in the real world.

Moreover, law school is definitely the "gift" that keeps on giving. First, you get to spend three miserable years learning from some pseudo-intellectual professors (i.e. people who have the same worthless degree you have) about theoretical concepts only tangentially related to the practice of law. Then you leave school realizing you owe more in student loans than some people do on their houses. Then you have to spend even more money learning how to take an exam that's required of you before you even have the ability to practice. After that, you learn that even with a degree/license, there are few (and mostly low paying) jobs for attorneys. Then you learn that non-legal employers aren't exactly thrilled about hiring people with your "advanced" credentials.

This isn't an exhaustive list of the miserable revelations many law graduates are sadly forced to discover. Some of you may think, can it possibly get any worse? Well, if you've experienced (or are yet to experience) all of the above, let me assure that the curse of law school isn't done doling out its punishment quite yet.

No, as if unemployment, a life time of debt, and losing every shred of dignity you once held isn't enough, almost all law graduates have to deal with another nuisance: The Free Rider Problem.

The Free Rider Problem is manifested in every moocher who comes out the wood work as soon as it is revealed that you're now a licensed attorney (and often times even beforehand). It's kind of like when people get hit up by friends and relatives after they win the lottery. The only difference is that as a law school graduate, you just won Beelzebub's lottery and all you have to share is ignorance.

Maybe if you're a 1L and someone solicits your advice for the first time, it feels kind of good. You feel proud that people look to you as an authority. Well, guess what? You're not an authority. Chances are the average legal secretary could offer better advice than you can, and she isn't going to have to explain to the bar why she once engaged in the unauthorized practice of law if she ends up giving advice to the wrong person.

Things don't really change once you're an attorney. The only thing that may change is that you can get your licensed yanked or face a malpractice suit for letting the moochers push you around.

Just because the stakes are higher, doesn't mean that the parasites will leave you alone (even if you politely explain your professional obligations). No, in fact, once you're a full fledged attorney, it's open season.

I can't tell you the number of times people have just assumed I'm their personal legal question and answer database. I guess this must be what it's like to be an attractive female who has to endure the unrelenting and untoward advances made by the dregs of the male gender.

People have asked me how to file a complaint with the state's consumer fraud division. (I was actually asked this by a paralegal - "You'd know better than I would, my friend.") I have been hit up for advice on changing one's name, analyzing a child custody agreement (that I hadn't even seen), and getting dual citizenship. People have asked me to write their wills and sue their landlords. One person even thought I could give her a lecture on how HIPAA works while another wanted me to write a threatening letter on her behalf.

This sort of thing must be particularly annoying to practicing attorneys. Unless they can parlay this free advice into getting retained as a paid attorney, talking about work probably isn't what they want to do during their free time. (Maybe I should try to become friends with an executive at Sallie Mae and try to convince him to write off some of that debt 'cause buds help each other out.)

In my case, however, I don't even know what the heck most of these people are talking about. Okay, maybe I usually understand the theory behind some of the dilemmas they're having, but I certainly don't have the practical knowledge to help them out even if I were so inclined.

Personally, I think it would be funny if I could get away with just doling out a bunch of bad advice. "Sure, Ralph, getting into a street fight with your friend sounds like a great idea. You can guys can definitely disclaim liability for any injuries that result"; "I, Esq. Never, certify that Mr. and Mrs. Smith hereby devise all of their assets to the Workers World Party and give custody of their children to Big Bird."

The state bar or the court that decides the malpractice suit against me may not be quite as amused.

Some of you may be thinking, "Wait, Esq. Never, you dummy, why don't get off your duff and try to learn some of this law and procedure, so you can't actually do something productive instead of sitting around complaining."

First, of all, do I come over to your blog and heckle you? (Well, usually, I don't.) Secondly, here's my three part response. 1) I really don't want to be an attorney. 2) Setting up a solo operation and learning the ropes isn't an easy feat. 3) Most of the people who are looking for advice are looking for free advice - hence the "Free Rider Problem". As soon as I mention a fee agreement, they'd make a run for it like an ABA president runs from an honest debate on the problems with her organization. (Hey, maybe, this is a good tip for ridding yourself of free loaders.)

Of course, don't feel bad, fellow barristers. I recently read an advice column about a garbage man who kept getting hit up by friends to help dump their over-sized refuse for free. He just worked for the garbage company; he didn't even own the truck!

Well, if garbage men don't have to do pro-bono trash collection, I don't see why we need to give away advice for free. Particularly, when most of recent law school grads don't have any advice to give away in the first place.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pride and Employment

This is a follow up to two of my recent posts. In Pride and Prejudice, I urged readers to put pride in the back seat wherever they are in the law school process (applying, enduring, or graduated). In Honesty is the Best Policy, I further urged readers not to lie to try to finagle an interview.

How are the two connected? Well, let's start with the last post. The temptation to lie is quite strong because if you went to law school full time during the past three years and you don't want/can't find a decent legal job, you're in for an uphill battle in trying to secure non-legal employment. As has been stated time and time again, a J.D. makes you unqualified for most non-legal jobs, and a three year gap on your resume will likely also keep you from getting interviews.

Some of you may be puzzled. Where does pride come in? After all, if you're looking at non-legal jobs, surely you've put pride in the backseat by deciding to forsake the "prestige" of being able to call yourself a lawyer.

I'll address this in a minute. Before moving on, let me note that I'm certainly not an expert as to what to do next. After all, I'm presently unemployed and living at home with my parents. I have a lot of experience with what doesn't work, but not too much with what does. To bolster my credibility, let me urge you to read this entry from the (now defunct) Barely Legal blog before continuing with this post.

If I could choose one sentence from the entire article, it would be this: "You don't deserve anything because you have a law degree."

It may take some time to fully understand that point. In fact, the author's fortune in apparently getting interviews for and eventually accepting a solid white collar job may be somewhat misleading. It appears that he was able to wrap up his job search before the economy fell into the tank (and the job market got so bad). For whatever reason, he was able to get interviews with his law degree on his resume and then was able to spin the degree.

Sadly, until the economy picks up (which should be a while), employers are going to be inundated with resumes. Most of them probably aren't going to have time to satisfy their curiosity by wondering why somebody who has a J.D. or three years missing from their work experience is applying for their open position.

You see, according to the aforementioned blog post, you simply can't think of yourself as anything more than a college graduate with a couple extra meaningless letters next to your name. (Unless you have some post-college work experience.) In my opinion, however, this is actually only the best you can think of yourself.

Unfortunately, it may be necessary to take another step down the old dignity ladder - particularly if you go down the "three year gap" route. You're not just merely a college graduate - you're a college graduate who didn't do a darn thing (save some periodic internships) over three years.

Yes, sadly, this means you're even less qualified than the average recent college graduate. Does that stink? Sure, but fighting reality won't do anything for you.

What you need to do is try to find jobs with employers that aren't going to be that concerned about the three year gap and just want to hire reasonably intelligent people with college degrees OR find a way to mitigate the gap in the resume.

I have some suggestions, but obviously, I can't speak from experience. These seem to be the best options at this point.

Document Review

You may be thinking, "Wait, I'm trying to leave the law!" As any doc reviewer will tell you, document review has precious little to do with actually practicing law. It has a lot more to do with making enough money to keep your unemployable posterior off the streets.

Nevertheless, it may offer you an escape hatch through which you can escape the stigma of your J.D. For one thing, it'll allow you to start bulking up your work experience on your resume. True, extensive document review experience can often be seen as the kiss of death in the legal world. In the non-legal world, however, most employers don't really know what "coding documents" is. If you can spin it in the right way, you could make it look like you have the professional/white collar work experience for which many employers are looking.

If you can't parlay the doc review experience itself into the "professional experience" that is a prerequisite for many corporate jobs, there can be other benefits. One of the main reasons people go into document review is because it usually pays pretty well. If you can keep your expenses down, it may be possible to save enough money to help finance one's exit from the industry.

Some people have used their document review earnings to open a solo law firm - not recommended. If you're not inclined towards the law and have some other business plan, you could use your earnings to underwrite a non-legal venture.

If you're not so entrepreneurialy inclined, you could also use the money to invest in yourself. You could find a certification or training program that will help you acquire practical skills to help you transition to another industry. You could do this either in between document review projects or or even possibly at night while still earning an income.

The big problem with this strategy at this point is that document review jobs are harder than ever to get. If you don't have experience, it's particularly difficult. Not only that, the wages for document review have plummeted since the recession started. It may be possible to make the same or similar money without suffering in a document review sweatshop.

Back to School

This ties in with the previous suggestion. Obviously, it's advisable not to take on any additional debt if possible, so financing continuing education with earnings from other work (like doc review) is probably a good idea.

The last thing you want to do, however, is simply pick up another worthless diploma. Be very weary of any program that won't teach you practical skills. Even degrees like MBA's or masters in economics should be suspect. If you don't have something practical to bring to an employer, you'll have to market yourself solely on the strength and credibility of your degree. As we've seen, that doesn't work too well with a J.D. My understanding is that while an MBA is more practical and versatile, there are plenty of TTT MBA's who regret their decisions as well.

Certification programs in various areas of IT, culinary skills, and other vocations are probably the best road to take. Just be careful not to be scammed again. There seem to be a lot of fly-by-night on-line schools looking to separate students from their money.

I heard about one national computer training company with "campuses" around the country. It recently went bankrupt, but all it did was prepare students for various certification exams related to the Microsoft operating systems and servers. The company charged a whopping $20k for this education. The exams and books to self-study for them will only cost you about $1,000 -if that. (They were also quick to put students in touch with Sallie Mae to finance the COA.)

If you can't learn a skill set on your own, ask professionals in an industry what they recommend to get the training you need. The best bet is probably a local community or state college certification/training program.

The most important thing is leaving the program with actual practical skills that will make you attractive to employers in your new field at a cost that won't cause you to rack up significantly more debt.

Entry Level Training Programs

If you've had it with school and don't want/can't find document review positions, you'll need to find an employer who isn't all that concerned about your resume. Most opportunities that are specifically targeted to recent college graduates are out. They're usually looking for bright people they can develop from the ground up right out of school. If being three years removed from college doesn't nix you from their pool of candidates, having a gap on your resume will likely do so.

This is probably also true for many companies that don't have a specific program for recruiting college students but who are willing to consider recent graduates with no work experience for a position that has become available. A resume with such a gap in experience is going to be strewn aside like a law dean tosses aside whatever scruples he may have ever had.

Some companies have training programs that aren't necessarily looking for recent graduates or even the best and the brightest. (Sometimes they actually want people who have been out of school for a while.) These usually take the form of management training programs where you'll usually start off assuming assistant managerial functions and learn different areas of the business.

Companies I've heard about that have such programs are Wal Mart, the Honey Baked Ham Store, Blinds to Go, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car (among others). Sure, supervising the installation of discount blinds or scolding some frat boys for "ralphing" in the back seat of the compact car they rented for spring break isn't exactly what you were thinking when you signed that seat deposit over to that TTT dean, but let's face it, now is not the time to be picky.


Sales isn't for everyone. In fact, if you're gifted in this area, you probably have what it takes to network yourself into a better job. That said, these jobs will usually take anyone with a pulse. Usually they entail cold calling people, harassing everyone you've ever met, and/or making presentations to sell people insurance, financial instruments, or something else they could probably easily buy for themselves if they just logged onto the appropriate website.

Often times you'll need to get some sort of license (e.g. insurance, Series 7, etc.) depending on what you're selling. You'll need to be able to endure a lot of rejection and have a persuasive personality. In most of these jobs, your take home pay will be commission based.

Service Industry

Yes, at the bottom of the list are jobs you could probably get if you only graduated high school. In fact, they are jobs you could probably get if you just didn't have what it takes to graduate high school (i.e. two brain cells to rub together).

Some positions, by themselves, can be reasonably lucrative. For example, being part of the waitstaff at a fancier restaurant pays the bills for many young folks.

One, however, shouldn't overlook less lucrative options. While stocking shelves or loading trucks is a pretty darn pathetic position to be in after seven years of education, it could be your path to a decent corporate job. You see, companies want to hire people who are familiar with their products and services. Many times they will promote from within. If you do a good job and learn the ropes at the lower level, with your education, you should be a prime candidate for advancement to a position that offers more responsibility.

Prior Work Experience

If you have prior work experience in a professional field, now is probably not the time to think about switching to another non-legal industry. Both your resume and the job market are currently stacked against you. Try to get back into the field in which you have experience and do everything you can to spin your J.D. as an enhancement to the credentials you already have.

The only time a J.D. is really beneficial to a non-practicing attorney is when it's coupled with other skills and experience. Try to take advantage of this to set you apart from other candidates with similar non-legal credentials. A good idea to accept the same salary that someone with similar credentials (but no J.D.) would accept.

My Strategy

Personally, I'm going to try to continue pushing my previous work experience and spin the J.D. as best I can. Obviously, I've had little luck with this approach, but I'm also open to accepting document review positions. Unfortunately, these aren't as accessible as they once were, but I may have a project soon. I would then seriously considering using my profit from such a project/projects to get some training in another field or start my own enterprise.

The most important thing at this stage is to be realistic about how employable you are. I had a friend who just couldn't recognize how worthless a J.D. is. He kept urging me to look at executive positions that paid around six figures. He seemed to reason that just because top law grads could command salaries at that level (or above), the business world would be willing to pay anyone with a J.D. a similar salary.

Sadly, that's not the case. As I've said before, outside of the legal world, a J.D. is essentially just a fancy liberal arts degree. I might as well have pursued a Ph.D. in art history.

If you don't have anything to offer, but your J.D., then you really don't have anything to offer. It's best to shrug your shoulders, start at the bottom, and start trying to rebuild your life than continue chasing a dream that has morphed into a nightmare.

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