Bottom line: There are more new law school graduates than there are full-time job opportunities in law firms.
Have law schools been obfuscating this fact? It appears that new grads are catching on to the fact that they’ve been sold a bill of goods.
Alexandra Gomez-Jimenez, 30, was so frustrated with her job search after earning her law degree in 2007 that she decided this summer to sue her alma mater, New York Law School, for fraudulent advertising. She and other graduates of the Manhattan-based law school filed a lawsuit claiming they were duped by exaggerated job placement stats that law schools publish to attract students. “When I was applying, New York Law School said employment right out of school was high,” says Gomez-Jimenez, who worked as a paralegal after graduating from college. New York Law’s school literature, she says, claimed that alumni would find jobs with $70,000 to $80,000 salaries, and that 90% found jobs within six months of graduating. “I looked at it as their having a network of connections that would get me a job. But I never got help, or even an interview.”
New attorneys who find themselves struggling to get a job after graduation may need to think outside the box regarding employment. Jobs with consulting firms and government agencies are both viable options to practicing law with a firm. The key to making the transition is to develop an effective strategy and job search materials that highlight the business value you will bring to a new employer. Working with an experienced career coach who specializes in transitions can help accelerate the process.
About the Author: Jocelyn Clarke is Head Coach and creator of the Insider Coaching Group, a boutique consultancy that provides professional job seekers with an unparalleled ‘insider’s advantage.’ With a foundation of experience as a seasoned HR professional and healthcare recruiter, Jocelyn coaches her clients in job search best practices, interview skills, and career development issues. She works with a variety of professionals with a special focus on therapists, physicians, and academics. Most recently the Recruitment Director at a medical school, Jocelyn also spent many years in HR at universities, non-profit organizations, and private companies grounding her with broad based experience in recruiting and staffing. Jocelyn holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification and is an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management, International Coach Federation, and the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. She has a B.A. in English from Florida State University.