Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Fantastic opportunities in law!

I had this doozy of a job listing pop up in my inbox today: anothernjlawyer08/28/17
Yes, but it's just the first step to that cool million lifet 6figuremistake08/28/17
Based on what you wrote, it seems that if the firm paid $30 nighthawk08/28/17
I could get a job answering phones for $15 an hour in my che fettywap08/28/17
that's what we paid my niece to watch our 3 kids over the su jackiechiles08/28/17
31k. Not very good, but probably a good springboard for some flawed08/28/17
$15 an hour would only be 31k if it is salary. If it really onehell08/29/17
Should have just posted their name... I didn't see why your triplesix08/28/17
To be fair, Amazon appears to be a pretty fantastic employer lolwutjobs08/28/17
What does it mean to have a "passion for family law"? shuiz08/29/17
Means you're a jerk and hate other human beings. jackiechiles08/29/17
$15 dollars an hour? I'd rather do doc review in the city fo isthisit08/29/17
Since there are still firms trying to get free work from "in superttthero08/29/17
You're not wrong but there is a counterpoint to this, which onehell08/29/17
Don't you do healthcare compliance? I feel like that's a goo 3lol08/29/17
Yes. Like I said, things did work out in the long-run. But t onehell08/30/17
Well said! "Paying your dues" is, more and more, just eupham defectoantesto08/30/17
The difference is a boomer "paid their dues" because the pat mtbislife08/30/17
I often disagree with superthero but he's spot on right here williamdrayton08/29/17
Working for the government is like the holy grail of JDU flyer1408/29/17
Nobody is really disputing what you are saying the issue is triplesix08/29/17
My experience graduating lol skool in the doldrums of 2011, flawed08/29/17
I realize that this is apparently what the market will bear, anothernjlawyer08/29/17
Actually, lots of plumbers and electricians and mechanics st onehell08/29/17
180. anothernjlawyer nailed it. blackholelaw08/30/17
Hold on! This isn't so bad a salary. $15 per hour is a patenttrollnj08/29/17
After taxes, 15 per hour as a 1099 is probably like 11 or 12 anothernjlawyer08/30/17
We all just need to network more and everything will be fine mtbislife08/30/17
Dude, I was being partially sarcastic. My old coworkers patenttrollnj08/31/17

anothernjlawyer (Aug 28, 2017 - 3:16 pm)

I had this doozy of a job listing pop up in my inbox today:

NJ Attorney

Compensation$15 to $25 Hourly (plus commission)
Employment Type: Contractor
Busy Law office seeking an attorney. Will consider a law graduate awaiting bar results. Candidate must be a hard worker willing to put in the hours. Should have a passion for family law or experience in in social security disability

Company address:
Other applicants: 20+


I deleted the name of the law firm, though, frankly, they deserve to be embarrassed. 15 bucks an hour as a (probably illegal) "contractor," so you're responsible for the employer's share of payroll taxes, etc... "Long hours" that you aren't going to get a lick of overtime for. I'm sure a prestigious firm like this is going to cover your bar dues, CLE fees, and malpractice insurance? Right? You're literally better off taking a warehouse job at Amazon.

The worst part??? 20+ people applied for this stinker. That means there are lawyers who are going to feel bad about getting REJECTED from this horrible job.

The scam may be out in the open, but its effects will be felt for years to come.

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6figuremistake (Aug 28, 2017 - 3:55 pm)

Yes, but it's just the first step to that cool million lifetime premium of going to law school.

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nighthawk (Aug 28, 2017 - 5:53 pm)

Based on what you wrote, it seems that if the firm paid $30 per hour it would be a fantastic opportunity?

Also, the top part of it, $25 per hour, is basically starting salary for family law shops in NJ. 3rd and 4th year associates at these places are pulling in approximately that amount.

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fettywap (Aug 28, 2017 - 4:07 pm)

I could get a job answering phones for $15 an hour in my cheap state.

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jackiechiles (Aug 28, 2017 - 4:35 pm)

that's what we paid my niece to watch our 3 kids over the summer

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flawed (Aug 28, 2017 - 4:50 pm)

31k. Not very good, but probably a good springboard for someone waiting for bar results with nothing else to do.

I worked 2 months for similar pay before getting a real job that paid slightly more, haha.

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onehell (Aug 29, 2017 - 12:37 pm)

$15 an hour would only be 31k if it is salary. If it really is $15/hr, you won't make that much unless never take a vacation or sick day and work a full 8 hours every holiday.

If you take 2 weeks' vacation and federal holidays, that's 160 hours you lose per year. Figure another 40/yr for random stuff that comes up like getting sick or dropping off the drycleaning or changing your oil and you lose 200 hours, meaning you make more like 28k if this really is an hourly gig. And even that assumes they'll actually give you 40 hours in regular weeks, which is a big assumption.

This is probably a sub-30k job. Ouch. And if they're going to pay you 1099, that self employment tax will be a killer. Sure paying you that way is likely illegal, but no one in straits dire enough to apply to this is going to complain and that's what they're banking on. You're gonna end up on the exchange for health insurance, too.

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triplesix (Aug 28, 2017 - 5:31 pm)

Should have just posted their name... I didn't see why your care if they get bad rep, they've earned. Bottom feeders should get any breaks.

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lolwutjobs (Aug 28, 2017 - 8:35 pm)

To be fair, Amazon appears to be a pretty fantastic employer.

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shuiz (Aug 29, 2017 - 2:37 am)

What does it mean to have a "passion for family law"?

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jackiechiles (Aug 29, 2017 - 7:46 am)

Means you're a jerk and hate other human beings.

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isthisit (Aug 29, 2017 - 10:43 am)

$15 dollars an hour? I'd rather do doc review in the city for twice that and little stress.

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superttthero (Aug 29, 2017 - 12:57 pm)

Since there are still firms trying to get free work from "interns," I don't begrudge a struggling/small firm taking advantage of the market and actually paying a wage.

I think you guys griping about the rate are missing the big picture. If you have nothing else going on, doing this job for 6 months will likely expose you to other firms/attorneys that may give you a better deal, and at least provide experience for you to sound like you know SOMETHING during a real interview. With a six figure sticker, the JD shouldn't require this level of "paying your dues," but the reality of the world is that if you are 9 months after graduation, no job, no prospects, you either take this and hope in 2 years you're at a small, but better firm pulling in 60-80k (or better) or you sit and stew.

That this is the reality though is terrible and the fault of the grifters at the ABA and the schools.

Don't hate the player. Hate the schools.

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onehell (Aug 29, 2017 - 2:21 pm)

You're not wrong but there is a counterpoint to this, which is that this crap only happens because we allow it to happen by accepting these wages. If that's what we take, then others conclude that it is what we're worth.

For example, I got a legal aid job after law school. It paid in the mid 30s and required me to move to the middle of nowhere. But I followed your mindset and said "I'm not entitled to anything and I need to pay my dues and get some experience." So I took it.

Things worked out OK in the long-term, it's true, but to this day I wonder if it might have been better if I'd just declined that offer. I built connections and moved up and out. But I got stuck in this rural area, never worked for a law firm, etc. As such, my resume is anything but "normal," and idk what I'd do if this inhouse work ever dries up. But I was so terrified of unemployment that I took anything that was on offer, and that has set a course for the rest of life.

If I'd declined, I might have eventually found a normal job in a place I actually wanted to live. Or perhaps I would have given up on law while I was still young enough to go back for med school prereqs or something.

So while there's something to be said for a willingness to pay your dues, there's also something to be said for setting goals, rejecting things that won't help you achieve them, and even changing your goals and folding a losing hand rather than doubling down and further pigeonholing your self as a lawyer. A poo-law gig like this leads to what, slightly better poo law? Becoming a solo? A 25 year old fresh out of law school has their whole life ahead of them. If this is what you have to do to enter this profession, then perhaps taking something like this prevents or delays you from reevaluating whether the price of entry is worth paying and is in reality just an incarnation of the sunk-cost fallacy.

I think anyone considering applying to a gig like this needs to seriously ask themselves if they truly still want to be a lawyer. If so, great, go ahead and take it and try to use it as a stepping stone. But if you are not burning with passion to practice law, and are young and fresh out, don't take it just because that's what you went to school for. Take it as a sign to do something else.

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3lol (Aug 29, 2017 - 10:03 pm)

Don't you do healthcare compliance? I feel like that's a good field that won't go away anytime soon. I'm a private-practice lawyer and I ASPIRE to go in-house in healthcare one day.

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onehell (Aug 30, 2017 - 12:49 pm)

Yes. Like I said, things did work out in the long-run. But there was a lot of pretty random right-place-right-time blind luck involved in that. And while the money is good now, I'm kinda stuck in an area of the country I wish I hadn't had to go to in the first place. I'm only here because it happens to be in the same geographic region as my first job out of law school and because my wife's career is here too, so I can't just pick up and move. Have a mortgage, so I can't just quit and go back to school. And like many in-house folks, being a cost-center instead of a direct part of what the organization actually does weighs on me.

Don't get me wrong. Many aspects of my life are great and are things others would likely envy. Doesn't change the fact that I often wish I'd set a goal other than paying my dues by going wherever would hire me. I often wonder how life might have turned out if I'd looked at that one-and-only offer I'd had coming out of law school and said to myself "no, I will not move to BFE for 35k even if it is a stepping stone."

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defectoantesto (Aug 30, 2017 - 10:36 am)

Well said! "Paying your dues" is, more and more, just euphamism for being taken advantage of by someone. It is like the casting couch of the learned professions; most of the time it dosen't result in a starring role.

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mtbislife (Aug 30, 2017 - 11:04 am)

The difference is a boomer "paid their dues" because the path to success was defined and all but guaranteed. We "pay our dues" with 150k+ in debt working for 40k and spend over half our post tax income on rent. At the end of all that we can get canned at any moment. 3-4 years of work experience at one decent company is worth more than a law degree and having to work your way up when you are almost 30. That part needs to be stressed to people in undergrad right now.

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williamdrayton (Aug 29, 2017 - 1:47 pm)

I often disagree with superthero but he's spot on right here.

from whence came the idea that legal employers are supposed to ignore the basic laws of supply and demand?

I didn't do very well in Econ 101 but I do recall that if the supply (young law grads) greatly outstrips the demand (job openings), the price goes down precipitously. the employer does not care about the supposed "prestige" of the law profession or how much it cost you to get a JD.

about 7-8 years ago I had a very illuminating conversation during and interview with a solo in a niche practice. he flat out told me that he was pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest he got from highly experienced people willing to accept his admittedly crappy wage. (there was no ball-hiding with this guy, he told you the wage up front)

does this state of affairs suck? of course it does. but it's called economic reality. those who want to opt out of the free market for labor need to get government jobs. (full disclosure: I would kill for a nice government job myself)

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flyer14 (Aug 29, 2017 - 2:03 pm)

Working for the government is like the holy grail of JDU

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triplesix (Aug 29, 2017 - 2:03 pm)

Nobody is really disputing what you are saying the issue is that employers regularly violate employment laws on top of paying poo wages, if they pay at all haha

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flawed (Aug 29, 2017 - 2:37 pm)

My experience graduating lol skool in the doldrums of 2011, was there was really only the opportunity to volunteer at govt agencies. One even told me they hired one of their 3 volunteers after 8 months! Wowee! 8 months of working for zilch for a 33% chance of an entry level job!

This reality was why i took a really awful job for 30k pre-bar results, and a fairly awful job practicing for 40k and worked my way up from there.

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anothernjlawyer (Aug 29, 2017 - 3:26 pm)

I realize that this is apparently what the market will bear, and that it's not a small firm's (or any firm's) job to provide gainful employment opportunities for new lawyers.

I'm angry because there's no other "profession" in the world where a job posting like this would get 20+ applicants. How many licensed doctors 1099 it for 15 bucks an hour? How many licensed accountants, plumbers, electricians, barbers, massage therapists, or educators 1099 it for 15 bucks an hour? How many auto mechanics who went to Lincoln Tech 1099 it for 15 bucks an hour? Sh!t, how many janitors with a boiler operator license 1099 it for 15 bucks an hour?

That is literally an unskilled labor wage (or lower, when you factor in the 1099 part) that comes with none of the protections (like overtime pay) provided to unskilled laborers.

I'm angry because that is the value of my education. I have a better job than this, and there are better jobs out there, but the bottom line is that at the end of the day, this is the market value of the license we hold, and that is what it costs an employer to replace us.

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onehell (Aug 29, 2017 - 3:51 pm)

Actually, lots of plumbers and electricians and mechanics start out at wages like this. It's called apprenticeship. Even doctors will make a rather modest income during residency.

The real problems is that after you cut your teeth, those other paths have a much more clearly-defined path. They'll go into a union, or an ASE certification for a mechanic, or in the case of docs, board certification. But for law, the wages exist not because of an apprenticeship-style system, but simply because supply vastly exceeds demand.

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blackholelaw (Aug 30, 2017 - 2:32 pm)

180. anothernjlawyer nailed it.

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patenttrollnj (Aug 29, 2017 - 10:37 pm)

Hold on! This isn't so bad a salary.

$15 per hour is about $30K per year, and the above advertisement is for $15 to $25 per hour. If you manage to get $20K per hour, you'll be making $40K a year.

This isn't such a shocking salary for attorneys anymore. People at my old firm started with $45K per year.

To put it bluntly, anything that keeps you off welfare is a "fantastic opportunity in law."

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anothernjlawyer (Aug 30, 2017 - 12:32 pm)

After taxes, 15 per hour as a 1099 is probably like 11 or 12 an hour as a W-2 employee.

You're not making "about 30k per year" unless you are working 2000 hours, which is 40 hours a week, 50 full weeks per year. You aren't getting paid days off as a 1099.

How can you call that "not a bad salary" for someone with 7 years of post-high school education? The average full-time Walmart worker--i.e., a high school dropout--makes around 13 per hour as a W-2.

Spending 200K or more on college and law school to have the same earning power as a high school drop out......if that's what passes for a "fantastic" opportunity in law, I don't know what else to say.

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mtbislife (Aug 30, 2017 - 3:43 pm)

We all just need to network more and everything will be fine.

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patenttrollnj (Aug 31, 2017 - 2:36 am)

Dude, I was being partially sarcastic.

My old coworkers started with $45K per year (before taxes) working full time. There are many experienced lawyers out there that don't make over $60K (before taxes). I, myself, started with $50K (before taxes) in a full time job. Plus, I'm not even addressing all the law school graduates that NEVER are able to find a job practicing law.

Thus, a contractor (who is NOT full time) making what would add-up to $30K per year doesn't seem so bad--at least when considered relative to all the above. Any "scrap" a law school graduate can get is respectable in my book.

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