Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Is giving up right?

I graduated from a bottom Tier 2 Law School in '09, top 25% 008485604/12/17
I vote for staying at home. The cost of childcare and extra flyer1404/14/17
What part of Ohio? sobeitunion04/14/17
Frankly, I'd give up. You are going to be clawing and scrat ruralattorney04/12/17
I would seek help with your credentials before you throw in mrtor04/12/17
"There is also a flock of younger graduates without family c rainsofcastamere04/12/17
I have had a few interviews, but was not called back for sec 008485604/12/17
Definitely consider alternative career. I worked as an insur elphaba1204/12/17
Are you working with any recruiters? If not try to hook up w ejs201704/12/17
I have not tried a recruiter yet. This is a small city and 008485604/12/17
I don't really advocate giving up, because I don't know what shikes04/12/17
Become a teacher. Tell them you are giving up the money and therewillbeblood04/14/17
Staying home 3 years will do that. You were doing appointmen vohod04/14/17
As I understand it, OP currently lives in a small town/city, hairypalms04/15/17
0084856 (Apr 12, 2017 - 10:06 am)

I graduated from a bottom Tier 2 Law School in '09, top 25% of class. No one wanted to hire me. Hung a shingle, did five years of general private practice & court appointment. After paying office rent, etc. never made more than I could have waiting tables. Took 3 years off to raise kids. Moved to new state. Kids going to school. Sending out resumes now, and no one is interested. I applied for a mentor through the bar asso. and they never called me back. I think this career was on life support to begin with, and it is just plain dead now. Pretty sure I have to go back to school and find a new career. Advise?

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flyer14 (Apr 14, 2017 - 1:59 pm)

I vote for staying at home. The cost of childcare and extra expenses will likely far outweigh anything you make as an attorney.

If you're willing to move to Ohio I could refer you to my place of employment but that would mean moving (back?)

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sobeitunion (Apr 14, 2017 - 2:06 pm)

What part of Ohio?

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ruralattorney (Apr 12, 2017 - 10:20 am)

Frankly, I'd give up. You are going to be clawing and scratching just to make what a teacher makes. And each month you will have to worry about your overhead. When it comes to private practice, some people can make the magic and others just can't. Respectfully, it sounds like you are the latter. You aren't alone in that regard.

And do you want to be dealing with awful clients, incompetent judges, and horrible opposing counsel just to hope to make $60k a year?

But I wouldn't go back to school. More debt is not what you need. If you are going to go back school, do something short, sweet and very employable - like a dental hygienist program.

Think about your prior private practice and ask yourself, "Do I really want more of this?" I think that you know the answer.

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mrtor (Apr 12, 2017 - 10:51 am)

I would seek help with your credentials before you throw in the towel. A lot of candidates handicap themselves with a poor resume and cover letter. Your alma mater should assist you with both. Google examples from Ivy League schools to see how the best how do it. You should also reach out to family and friends whom you believe may be able to assist, especially other attorneys. You need to identify key skills and experiences and figure out how to market them to targeted employers. The fact that you are not even getting interviews leads me to believe that your credentials are not making an impression. Seek help immediately.

Unfortunately, you also have to realize that you're almost eight years out of law school now. Many of your classmates have already made partner or are near it. There is also a flock of younger graduates without family commitments who are willing to fully dedicate themselves to the long hours and grueling work expected of associate attorneys. It's not impossible to break back in, but it is an uphill battle.

With kids, you may want to consider alternative careers -- especially since you sound like a secondary earner. The hours and pay in this profession are (usually) not amenable to family life. Have you looked at local or state government work? Small county prosecutor positions, public defender positions, Clerk's office, etc. You may consider volunteering as a prosecutor or public defender in order to gain experience and make connections in the hope of a more permanent, paid role. Medical and dental certificate programs are also quick, relatively cheap, ensure steady income, and offer a better work/life balance.

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rainsofcastamere (Apr 12, 2017 - 11:00 am)

"There is also a flock of younger graduates without family commitments who are willing to fully dedicate themselves to the long hours and grueling work expected of associate attorneys. It's not impossible to break back in, but it is an uphill battle."

Extremely credited.

OP, I'm in my mid 30s and I graduated roughly when you did. After a false start I'm now a mid-level associate at a mid-sized firm. I have two young kids and my spouse also works long hours (thankfully not as a lawyer). The struggle to balance expectations for grueling hours versus family commitments is constant, and brutal. Additionally, the other associates in my firm, with whom I'm competing for favor with the partners and eventually partnership, are in their 20s, unmarried, and perfectly willing (and able) to get to work early and stay late every night. I'm not always able to do so because of my kids, and it makes me look bad in comparison. The practice of law as a young attorney, at least at law firms, is VERY much a young man's (or woman's) game. And at the end of the day, it's not all that fun or rewarding of a game, and it's hard to make enough $$$ to make the hassle worthwhile no matter your circumstances.

Given what you've said, I wouldn't try to join a firm unless you can somehow find a defined part-time role. I wouldn't go back to school unless it's a very short and affordable program, like someone above said. If you must go back to work, try to find some quasi-legal position.

Keep your head up and good luck.

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0084856 (Apr 12, 2017 - 12:17 pm)

I have had a few interviews, but was not called back for seconds. I have been applying for county government work. There are more openings at the same places but it seems to me they have already stated their opinion of me.

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elphaba12 (Apr 12, 2017 - 10:09 pm)

Definitely consider alternative career. I worked as an insurance claims rep for 12 years after law school and then started practicing. So it is never too late to start practicing, and it it never to late to look into other options.

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ejs2017 (Apr 12, 2017 - 10:52 am)

Are you working with any recruiters? If not try to hook up with Special Counsel, Robert Half or a similar company through Linkedin. Luck and timing factor into the equation as much as anything, particularly if your salary expectations make you attractive. Put your CV on Indeed which I've noticed is becoming the location of choice for recruiters. If you haven't already, look into having your CV revised professionally. That said, ruralattorney's points are excellent in that you have to ask yourself whether the attorney life is worth pursuing.

If you're looking to bow out which, parenthetically, is not an unreasonable option for a lot of attorneys whether or not they are employed, you have options. For example, do you have any interest in becoming a financial advisor? I've been looking for exit options and I seriously contemplated becoming a financial advisor with Edward Jones. They were impressed with my legal education and experience which they felt could be successful leveraged into the position.

I went through four out of five stages of the interviewing process but decided to bow out because I recognized that I wasn't in a place in life where I could take such a radical step, go through a six month training program and then build up my own practice from scratch. Despite that, pretty much everyone with whom I spoke was happy with their job, loved the company, and felt that their earning prospects were excellent. It really comes down to the person and their motivation level.

As for going back to school, I would only do that if it didn't entail several years and a lot of money. That depends on your undergraduate program, your planned area of study and your financial situation.

Another option is to look into something like a coding bootcamp a get certified as a programmer. The cost of a good bootcamp is still significantly less than taking on the debt associated with more college.

Best of luck.

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0084856 (Apr 12, 2017 - 12:19 pm)

I have not tried a recruiter yet. This is a small city and I'm not sure if there are enough jobs for recruiters to bother with the place, but I will look.

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shikes (Apr 12, 2017 - 7:34 pm)

I don't really advocate giving up, because I don't know what that means. Bills are still coming in. What does "giving up" entail? If you have some awesome non-law job available to you, I would have advised to give up a while back. Otherwise, why not keep trying?

County positions, especially after an election, sometimes come in droves. Judges have positions open all the time. Local government low end government jobs also are posted often. You can send resumes to posted jobs, get your mentor (call them if they dont respond to email), contact alumni, contact a recruiter, try and meet attorneys, try to find clients (you don't need to hang a shingle or really do ANYTHING to take on a random slip and fall case and make a quick buck off a quick settlement), etc etc etc.

Unless you have a better option keep grinding. Its scary and sometimes very depressing, but if you're saying you already got multiple interviews and haven't gotten callbacks maybe work on interviewing as well. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. JDU, while on the right track, is often over pessimistic.

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therewillbeblood (Apr 14, 2017 - 11:08 pm)

Become a teacher. Tell them you are giving up the money and prestige of law because you have a passion for teaching Civic virtues.

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vohod (Apr 14, 2017 - 11:17 pm)

Staying home 3 years will do that. You were doing appointments before so if you can manage to limit your appointments you should ordinarily be able to do all of it before your kids' after school programs (which you'd enroll them in) are finished.

This is a cautionary tale in dropping out of the workforce. If you leave and are ok being out, fine. But I know a lot of moms battling quasi-depression as they are unemployed by mid 30s, all kids gone at school, and a husband whose getting antsy to have that second income back.

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hairypalms (Apr 15, 2017 - 8:07 am)

As I understand it, OP currently lives in a small town/city, was not hired out of law school, worked for 5 years as a solo, then took 3 years off to raise children. You are also living in a new state and presumably do not possess bar admission in such state. I do not think your upside in law is very high, but I do agree that in your situation working in a government capacity would be your best bet for stable employment and QOL. The biggest impediment would seem to be lack of bar admission in your new state. The likelihood of a mid/large law firm hiring you at this stage is low since you have not had any firm experience (outside of your solo practice). A couple of other possible paths: insurance claims adjuster (as one of the other posters suggested), contracts manager or analyst, financial advising, computer programming. I do like the idea of obtaining medical training (dental hygenist or PA). You can take that experience anywhere in the country, but unfortunately will require additional time and money. Best of luck.

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