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  1. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Way East Tennessee
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    I first took the Virginia bar in July, then the Tennessee bar in February of the following year. Walked in, not thinking much about it, and saw a bunch of my fellow class mates. Didn't occur to me that they were on the second try. Bunch of them in the top quarter of the class.

    Sounds like you didn't prep to seriously. I hate doing shit twice, so I put a lot of effort into the Virginia bar with a 10 week prep course. Tennessee was a cake walk compared to Virginia.

    Wasn't a big deal to miss it on the first try. I have a bunch of friends that are excellent attorneys that did the same thing. Don't sweat it, but put some real effort into the next try.

    Ken
    In order to properly convert this thread to a polyasshat thread to more fully enrage the liberal left frequenting here...... (insert latest democratic blunder of your choice).

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Seattle
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    I am not going to pretend that I have been in your situation, and I can only imagine how hard it is. What was your undergrad degree in? When I came out of law school in 2002, it was pretty bad. Not as bad as it is now, but only around 50% of my school had jobs at graduation (Tier 2 regional school). I was also top third, on scholarship for all three years, and I only got 1 interview in my 3rd year out of 115 cover letters and resumes.

    My undergrad was in accounting and luckily all 4 of the Big 4 firms recruited me to their international tax groups, which traditionally hire lawyers. While it didn't pay as much as most law firms, it was still pretty good and the work I did was about the same as what law firm tax departments do. You may be able to leverage your undergrad degree if it is something more marketable.

    I have since moved in house. My first job was with a small legal technology company and I was actually a consultant for them, not a lawyer. Since they were small and growing, my role evolved and I began doing the legal work eventually having enough work to be full time counsel. I just left that job yesterday to take another in-houses job at a major technology company. Both jobs I was referred to by friends or acquaintances who knew about them.

    My advice would be don't stop doing information interviews. Maybe even make them less formal. Anyone you know who is a lawyer who has a job, offer to take them to lunch. Then just talk, don't worry too much about hitting them up for a job. People naturally want to help others if they like them and if they know of something, they will see what they can do. Also, attend as many free CLEs as you can. They give opportunities to network and get your name out there. If there are any conferences (like LegalTech in February in NY) going on, see if you can get a free exhibit hall pass. Talk to the vendors and see if any of them are hiring. They mostly prefer sales guys who are lawyers. You can make good money in sales for some of these companies (Think West, Lexis, etc.).

    What you need to work on are skills that lawyers and law firms need. This is where law school fail all lawyers. I would suggest taking a course on public speaking (or join Toastmasters). Having the ability to speak in public will give you more confidence in relaxed conversational situations as well and will allow your personality to come out. Law firms need people who can present a good face in front of clients. Doing good work is the minimum, but the most successful lawyers have great presence with clients.

    One area of law I would look into is Bankruptcy. It pretty much touches all interesting aspects (transactions, real estate, some litigation) and the economy sure doesn't seem to be getting better. Just don't get down on yourself and never let anyone you come in contact with get the feeling that you feel sorry for yourself. Any negative vibe will turn people away.

    Feel free to PM if you want to talk more about any of this stuff or if you think of making it out to Seattle and want to know more about the market here. Don't try and over plan your life. Keep putting yourself out there and good things will happen. Success comes to people who make their own luck. Good luck and don't give up.
    Last edited by phatty; 04-20-2012 at 11:46 AM.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by phatty View Post
    My advice would be don't stop doing information interviews. Maybe even make them less formal. Anyone you know who is a lawyer who has a job, offer to take them to lunch. Then just talk, don't worry too much about hitting them up for a job. People naturally want to help others if they like them and if they know of something, they will see what they can do. Also, attend as many free CLEs as you can. They give opportunities to network and get your name out there. If there are any conferences (like LegalTech in February in NY) going on, see if you can get a free exhibit hall pass. Talk to the vendors and see if any of them are hiring. They mostly prefer sales guys who are lawyers. You can make good money in sales for some of these companies (Think West, Lexis, etc.).

    What you need to work on are skills that lawyers and law firms need. This is where law school fail all lawyers. I would suggest taking a course on public speaking (or join Toastmasters). Having the ability to speak in public will give you more confidence in relaxed conversational situations as well and will allow your personality to come out. Law firms need people who can present a good face in front of clients. Doing good work is the minimum, but the most successful lawyers have great presence with clients.
    This is all good advice.

    Also want to add: look up the local "Inns of Court" organization where you are. I'm in one here in Nevada; we do monthly presentations (over about 8 months of the year; summer is dark) that are preceded by informal socializing. Free to anyone to attend, and you get CLE credit for attending the presentations. A good networking opportunity.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  4. #29
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    Dec 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by phishstx View Post
    Any creative suggestions for San Francisco/West Coast options? I've talked to quite a few alumni in SF and the more I think about it the more attractive it is to have a fresh start geographically.
    Quote Originally Posted by phishstx View Post
    Plus I would have been able to afford so many GoPros and get ripped for AK. I shit the bed on that plan, but you're right that it's been kind of liberating having certain options off the table, allowing me to look at better opportunities that I may not have considered originally.
    Creative option: Alaska doesn't have any law schools, and from what I can tell, also does not have a lot of attorneys job shopping that went to good law schools. You'd probably have a tough time finding the type of M&A work that you're looking for there, but you might still find that there is transactional work to be done. Also, I hear they have a lot of snow, so there's that.

    Creative option #2: North Dakota is going nuts right now. There is money to be made there and experience to be gained if you're willing to sacrifice pretty much anything resembling quality of life.

  5. #30
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    Did it ever occur to you that there are tooooo many lawyers in this country.............what is the per-capita lawyer/parasite for the rest of the world? I am really glad you are unemployed...........now go do something that increases GDP
    hi

  6. #31
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    Oct 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon gaper View Post
    Did it ever occur to you that there are tooooo many lawyers in this country.............what is the per-capita lawyer/parasite for the rest of the world? I am really glad you are unemployed...........now go do something that increases GDP
    You are clearly a smart man. You should post more often for everyone's benefit.
    Quote Originally Posted by oftpiste View Post
    too much chatter and not enough clam.

  7. #32
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    Jan 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Creative option: Alaska doesn't have any law schools, and from what I can tell, also does not have a lot of attorneys job shopping that went to good law schools. You'd probably have a tough time finding the type of M&A work that you're looking for there, but you might still find that there is transactional work to be done. Also, I hear they have a lot of snow, so there's that.

    Creative option #2: North Dakota is going nuts right now. There is money to be made there and experience to be gained if you're willing to sacrifice pretty much anything resembling quality of life.
    There are always lawyer jobs on Anchorage craigslist. FWIW
    But Ellen kicks ass - if she had a beard it would be much more haggard. -Jer

  8. #33
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    Mar 2007
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    Some more good suggestions for me to pursue, I appreciate it. Have some informational interviews lined up in PA for when I return next week, and need to find some good volunteer opportunities. I did Legal Outreach and stuff through law school and should have continued that, in retrospect it was one of the best ways to meet practicing lawyers in a pretty informal setting.

    Quote Originally Posted by phatty View Post
    One area of law I would look into is Bankruptcy. It pretty much touches all interesting aspects (transactions, real estate, some litigation) and the economy sure doesn't seem to be getting better. Just don't get down on yourself and never let anyone you come in contact with get the feeling that you feel sorry for yourself. Any negative vibe will turn people away.

    Feel free to PM if you want to talk more about any of this stuff or if you think of making it out to Seattle and want to know more about the market here. Don't try and over plan your life. Keep putting yourself out there and good things will happen. Success comes to people who make their own luck. Good luck and don't give up.
    Thanks man, could use some input on searching in the PNW. I liked the Bankruptcy course I took 3L year, it's an area I looked at a lot in New York but not so much outside that market. I think "overplan" might be the perfect word for my approach to law school originally, and it might have even resulted in some lost opportunities along the way. But like you said, nothing good can come of playing the victim at this point, I just need to make something happen. In the scheme of things I'm luckier than the majority of unemployed people out there.

    Thanks again for all the advice, especially gaper jon.

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Jack Tone Road
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    12,608
    If you're set on doing transactional work, stay on top of what's hot at the moment- there's always something. Our VC practice group (of which I'm a member) is super busy right now, for example, and the high profile successes of startups like Zynga and Instagram are attracting more investment to that area. Most cities now have tech events where entrepreneurs can demo their products and solicit advice, and there are usually a lot of solo "tech lawyers" hanging around the periphery- maybe you can find someone who needs a few hours of associate time per week to do the easily commoditized fixed-cost stuff (standard incorporation packages, mostly). It's not real heavy lifting but it's an in.

    On the encouragement front- it's no secret that the associate job market sucks, so nobody's going to think less of you because you didn't have a firm offer when you graduated. Keep plugging.
    In the long run, we're all dead.- John Maynard Keynes

  10. #35
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    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    just to pile on to what SSD said.

    Tech lends itself to eccentric behaviour. If you've got a startup lawyer mentality (ie keep it simple, get it done, damn the torpedos) then work with startups and work with guys who work with startups. Lots of startups and even mid-size tech outfits steer the hell away from biglaw so there's a fair amount of quirky solos who work in this area. Try to latch on to that sector if you can. It's got its own share of challenges which i'll get into if you're more curious but i think what SSD said has something going for it... if you don;'t mind uncertainty that is

  11. #36
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    Mar 2010
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    Wrong side of Denver
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    I can't add much beyond the advice that's been given above except to say that small GP firms/solos in many small Colorado and Wyoming towns are hiring now. I suspect that this is also true in other rural areas around the county. It can be a great gig if you can stand the wages and like the location. If you're interested in the Colorado listings, shoot me a PM with your e-mail address and I'll forward you the most-recent DU jobs bulletin.

  12. #37
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    Mar 2006
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    Way East Tennessee
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    Wow, Virginia bar pass rates just announced for the Feb bar.

    55% overall.

    Appalachian (10 year old law school nearby) 36%
    William and Mary 45%
    University of Virginia (eletish snobs) 65%

    Feb. rates are usually a little lower, but..... Looks like someone is trying to raise the bar.

    Ken
    In order to properly convert this thread to a polyasshat thread to more fully enrage the liberal left frequenting here...... (insert latest democratic blunder of your choice).

  13. #38
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    Feb 2010
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    Breck/Bozeman
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    Watch Suits

  14. #39
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    Feb 2009
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    Well, looks like I'll be putting my and others' advice to the test. Was laid off on Wednesday. Not too happy about it, but considering my firm has been on a downward spiral since the former president left, not unexpected. Maybe I'll start up a new thread titled "Nine years out of law school, not going as planned."

  15. #40
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    Jun 2009
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    PDX
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    Man...I thought things might be improving some for the BigLaw folks. I'm way out of the loop on those firms though. Doing environmental pseudo-law.

    I'm not doing much legal work, but I get to see a lot of the states I work in (currently GA) and the work isn't terrible. Not super interesting/engaging but not too mindless.

    Only advice I have is to look outside the law field/things tangentially related - only a third or so of the people I graduated with that I know are doing traditional legal work. The rest of us are in non-profits, accounting firms, bartending, etc.

  16. #41
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    Oct 2004
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    Seattle
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    Quote Originally Posted by bern43 View Post
    Well, looks like I'll be putting my and others' advice to the test. Was laid off on Wednesday. Not too happy about it, but considering my firm has been on a downward spiral since the former president left, not unexpected. Maybe I'll start up a new thread titled "Nine years out of law school, not going as planned."
    Sorry to hear, bern. Hope you were not caught up in the Dewey mess. Where are you located? I have been out of school about the same amount of time and I know how tough the market can be.

  17. #42
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    Nov 2005
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    Gah, just finishing 2L year and I should not have read this thread.

    Good luck to everyone who needs it.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by phatty View Post
    Sorry to hear, bern. Hope you were not caught up in the Dewey mess. Where are you located? I have been out of school about the same amount of time and I know how tough the market can be.
    I'm in Boston. Was at a mid-sized firm. Before that at a bigger national firm for a few years. Already working my "network." Kind of looking forward to daddy day care though.

  19. #44
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    Sep 2006
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    Utah
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    Hmm. This sucks. I've had the same problem trying to find experience while in law school! I just finished my 2nd year in a JD/MBA program - and while almost all of my MBA classmates have summer internships i tried getting a law one and nothing opened up, I've been going to tons of informational interviews and networking events and still nothing. I guess it might be a good time to switch gears and leverage my MBA
    A bit more? I'd love tondo transactional work an was hoping to get some legal experience now so O can do that..ultimately want to work in house..now I'm not sure what will happen

  20. #45
    Gman is offline Mack Master William Large
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    bern, what kind of law did you practice? My girlfriend's father works here: http://www.tbhr-law.com/ and might be a possible avenue.

  21. #46
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    Nov 2007
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    841
    Just get a law job and angle toward your real goal later. I have a friend I used to work with and he started with litigation at a little shop, went to IP litigation at a big shop, then semi-transactional, to Asst GC, to GC at a startup, to GC for a VC company.

    I went from PI to insurance/public entity litigation to education/public entity litigation to public entity employment counseling and labor negotiations.

    Get started in something. Anything. Work hard and keep applying to your next gig.

  22. #47
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    Dec 2009
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    7,293
    real estate, just sayin. no better way to make money. zero dollars spent on college. don't need it.

    good luck

    rog

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman View Post
    bern, what kind of law did you practice? My girlfriend's father works here: http://www.tbhr-law.com/ and might be a possible avenue.
    Mostly professional liability, construction, and commercial litigation. I'll have to check out that firm. They seem to do similar work. Found a summer gig at a decent small firm that may turn into a permanent position. Also starting my own firm on the side. So things seem to have worked out for now.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by 123ski View Post
    Hmm. This sucks. I've had the same problem trying to find experience while in law school! I just finished my 2nd year in a JD/MBA program - and while almost all of my MBA classmates have summer internships i tried getting a law one and nothing opened up, I've been going to tons of informational interviews and networking events and still nothing. I guess it might be a good time to switch gears and leverage my MBA
    A bit more? I'd love tondo transactional work an was hoping to get some legal experience now so O can do that..ultimately want to work in house..now I'm not sure what will happen
    Which law school are you at? What is your undergrad in?

  25. #50
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    Found a gig in the Philly area with the OGC at a big design firm/manufacturer for now, mostly related to international trade compliance stuff. Keeping my eye on transactional/fin reg long-term but definitely happy to be working for now, plus now I get to take the PA bar in July and (hopefully) get another admission under my belt.

    Thanks for all the input and best of luck to others in the same boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by 123ski View Post
    Hmm. This sucks. I've had the same problem trying to find experience while in law school! I just finished my 2nd year in a JD/MBA program - and while almost all of my MBA classmates have summer internships i tried getting a law one and nothing opened up, I've been going to tons of informational interviews and networking events and still nothing. I guess it might be a good time to switch gears and leverage my MBA a bit more? I'd love tondo transactional work an was hoping to get some legal experience now so O can do that..ultimately want to work in house..now I'm not sure what will happen
    I wasn't part of a joint degree program, but from my search for transactional work (mainly M&A and restructuring), it's an area that's definitely still slow on both the legal and business sides. There are deals and reorgs happening, but at a pace that's just enough to keep firms and banks from taking on new bodies, and if they do need anyone it won't be from anywhere but the established pipelines. One thing I found helpful, even if only to meet people and keep up on the type of law that interests you, would be to look into transaction-related committees in the nearest major city's bar association, and then get in touch to see if there's any way you can attend meetings, do some volunteer time for them, or just go to their CLE programs for free (since you don't need the credits right now).

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