Recent law graduates searching for employment in 2016

Written by David E. Behrend

” Last month the New York Times had a lead article on the front page of their Business Section ‘The Law School Bust’, with students trapped in debt, dejected professors, and scant jobs. While Canada has 25 law schools teaching either civil or common law, the United states has over 200 law schools, from those elite Tier 1 schools through Tier 4, the latter that except students with what maybe called, marginal credentials. The market is saturated with recent graduates.

Prior to the legal recession started in 2008, which I believe has impacted all law firms and law school in North America , there were opportunities for many who graduated, passed the bar exam, even if they were not to be great scholars and lawyers. Since the recessions ended, there are fewer positions available for the hundreds of young graduates each year, as firms and corporations have made do with less-in part due to technology. In addition the lawyer with a firm who was on ‘cruise control’ in their career, never having developed a clientele, does not fit into the firm in this retrenchment era, and is asked to move on!

Having counseled and guided lawyers nationally over the past two decades going through an employment or career transition, the traditional, long held ‘triad’ of- law firm, in house counsel, and government positions will not be sufficient to fill all the graduates of law school now , and possibly going forward. Hence some graduates may have to consider options of employment with their law degree outside the triad. One example as noted in the article are so called ‘ JD-advantage’ jobs, such as vetting and negotiating a corporation’s contracts with vendors and suppliers.

In addition, I am familiar with lawyers with their JD whom do not practice law; two young lawyers I know in university/college development, and two also run summer camps, and seem happy in their careers. In addition, I have counseled recent grads over the years who moved into the non for profit field and have enjoyed their decisions. Students today, be it undergraduate, or those with advanced degrees, will probably go through two or three careers and as many as six to eight positions, hopefully having employment security,if not job security, over their 40 year work life span.


About the author

David E. Behrend

Director of Career Planning Service, I have been a consultant working with attorneys and other professionals for over 25 years. My focus is on career development, concentrating on meaningful or necessary job change or career transitions. I have authored many articles on the subject, and have appeared on numerous radio and television shows. My practice offers both office and telephone career consultations.

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