I am an attorney. However, I went to a top 15 school and had mediocre grades. I found the job market to be depressing. So much time, planning, and money went into undergraduate school, I had a 4.0 GPA, and scored above the 95th percentile on the LSAT. I naively thought going to a top school their would be plenty of lucrative and exciting jobs waiting for me and I would be set to have a good quality of life. I remember sending out 300 letters one time and getting no positive response, either they said some nonsense about you are great, you have good accomplishments, but at this time we cannot offer you a position, we will keep your resume on file. I took the Bar Exam in two states wasting time studying and not earning any money. I had to move back in with my parents, fun. Meanwhile many of my friends and people that I knew from High School and College were establishing themselves in their careers and making money, gettng promotions, etc. I worked post-law school as a car salesman and a mortgage broker. Finally a family friend had a friend who was a solo attorney, I worked for him basically for free, actually it was negative because I spent money on travel, long distance phone calls, etc., still living at home with mom and dad, saddled with law school debts, the student loan people started calling wanting $$$. Eventually I left that attorney. I struggled to find another attorney job. Eventually, I got a job in 2003 at firm paying the princely sum of $25,000 per year. I moved out of my parent's house but was still subsidized by them. Dad kept threatening to cut me off, but I lived in an expensive state the cheapest place to stay I found was $1,500 a month all inclusive. My paycheck was like $430.00 a week take home. Eventually, I did go solo, it was hard, but I did make some money in real estate closings for 3 1/2 years. Now the real estate market stinks and I have no income, and I am trying to plan my next move, which may be back to my parents temporarily. I have interviewed for some associate positions and the salary range was 38k-55k, this is pretty low for somone with 5 yrs experience and a doctorate degree. My wife works at a nail salon, as a manicurist, she took a three month course and makes 50K a year. It has been an exquisitely painful road for me. In my family I am the most educated and the least financially secure. My dad makes like $350,000K engineering+MBA degree, my younger sister makes $165,000K a year psyche degree and an MBA. My conclusion, LAW SUCKS!!!!!!!!!! Too many law schools fighting for tuition $$$, night programs, weekend programs, low academic standards, too many attorneys, lowering wages and limiting opportunities, compare to the AMA and ADA that insure a shortage of dentists and doctors. When I was solo it seemed like everyone was an attorney, or their cousin was an attorney, or their sister's friend was an attorney, or their brother was an attorney and so and so on, I lost a lot of business because of this. I do not think doctors and dentists face such client poaching. If you are in the top 5%, law review, and went to a good school, yes, you will probably get a good job right from the start. I would have been better off not going to College and instead picking up a trade like being an electrician. Heck, if I had all the money I wasted on education, worked at a gas station during all my non-earning years and put the money into a CD I could probably be able to retire. Looking back, if I had to do it again, if you want to through the hard work and invest the $$$ for education so it pays off you should go into healthcare. Heck their is a shortage of pharmacists and their median wage is $98,000K well above lawyers. Dentists 180,000K median and their is a shortage. Oh well this sucks but this is my life and I will deal with it, I spent my educational time and $$$, and the dye is cast.
From US News, Poor careers for 2006
By Marty Nemko
Attorney. If starting over, 75 percent of lawyers would choose to do something else. A similar percentage would advise their children not to become lawyers. The work is often contentious, and there's pressure to be unethical. And despite the drama portrayed on TV, real lawyers spend much of their time on painstakingly detailed research. In addition, those fat-salaried law jobs go to only the top few percent of an already high-powered lot.
Many people go to law school hoping to do so-called public-interest law. (In fact, much work not officially labeled as such does serve the public interest.) What they don't teach in law school is that the competition for those jobs is intense. I know one graduate of a Top Three law school, for instance, who also edited a law journal. She applied for a low-paying job at the National Abortion Rights Action League and, despite interviewing very well, didn't get the job.
From the Associated Press, MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A lawmaker who persuaded the Assembly to eliminate all state funding for the University of Wisconsin law school says his reasoning is simple: There's too many lawyers in Wisconsin.
From an ABA study about malpractice claims, More Sole Practicioners: There appears to be an increasing trend toward sole practicioners, due partly to a lack of jobs for new lawyers, but also due to increasing dissatisfaction among experienced lawyers with traditional firms; leading to some claims which could have been avoided with better mentoring.
New Lawyers: Most insurers have noticed that many young lawyers cannot find jobs with established firms, and so are starting their own practices without supervision or mentoring. This is likely to cause an increase in malpractice claims, although the claims may be relatively small in size due to the limited nature of a new lawyers
“In a survey conducted back in 1972 by the American Bar Association, seventy percent of Americans not only didn’t have a lawyer, they didn’t know how to find one. That’s right, thirty years ago the vast majority of people didn’t have a clue on how to find a lawyer. Now it’s almost impossible not to see lawyers everywhere you turn.