Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stories Wanted: Asking For Your Old Job Back

Since there are many people kicking around here who had established careers before law school, I'm interested to know who went back to their "old" line of work and how they handled questions about why they went to law school.

I knew a few people in law school who were non-traditional and had other lines of work. Mostly, they did stuff like consulting, running their own business, or were involved in the health field where they could pull the occasional shift on nights or weekends while they were in law school. I haven't really run into anybody who had a mediocre past where they could say, "well, at least I could get my old job being a receptionist back."

6 comments:

  1. What I had to do when I couldn't find adequate legal employment (bottom of class in bottom-of-first-tier school)was head for the skilled trades. I am a machine repairman in real life. For a while, I did some probate/real estate/estate planning on the side, but quickly realized that doing EVERYTHING yourself made it an exhaustive efort for very little gain. But now, the problem is, these kids can't run even to these alternatives. AND, they have a debt load I did not have years ago. That's the real crime, the real sin, of what these law schools are doing to these kids--insurmountable debt. I know solo friends who are really having a hard time now, especially a friend of mine specializing in title searches. And, yes, law school may actually HARM you in that non-legal employers, who ALL think everyone in law has a white-shoe job and makes millions, will be highly suspect why you are not "practicing law". I must admit it was always beyond my comprehension how the legal profession expected one to somehow, miraculously, without any connections or support whatsoever, step out of school and start practicing. An amazingly hazardous undertaking, I may add, full of stresses and risks for the unwary.

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  2. My advice: find a licensed plumber in need of a dependable apprentice. You will always work.

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  3. I was a postman and a damn good one. but like many, I believed that higher education could untap some hidden potential in me and help me rise in the social stratosphere. So I passed up an opportunity to be in management with the US Postal Service just to complete law school. Because I was a law student, I always felt like I was "above the job" and I was ashamed to tell my coworkers that I was attending law school. I thought it was a day of liberation when I scrapped my permanent postal job in favor of a temporary legal document review project. I actually think I'd get rehired if I wanted to, but I'd have to go through testing and a mountain of paperwork to make it happen. And postal jobs are drying up almost as fast as legal ones.

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  4. If you are looking for a non-legal job, try your best to doctor you law school time. Read, make it disappear. Most HR people don't want to hire you because they think you are: 1) a liberal trouble maker, 2) going to leave them the first opportunity, 3) something is wrong with you, and 4) you can cross them.

    Number four I feel bad about. Mgnt and HR know they have a knowledge gap between them and the workers. They understand the labor law and the workers don't. I have seen them take advantage of the workers on breaks and pay. I had no duty to speak.

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  5. That is a very good point. It may be true that a number of people might be better off leaving the damn thing (that is, the JD)out entirely. Always good to have handy, therefore, some volunteer work you do on the side, then puff up the hours or something, in case they want a verifiable trail.

    Isn't that a shame, though. That, in America, there are those who REALLY have to HIDE their graduate education, if we can call law school "education", in order to survive. That sucks.

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  6. dupednontraditionalMay 12, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    From 12:23:

    "I must admit it was always beyond my comprehension how the legal profession expected one to somehow, miraculously, without any connections or support whatsoever, step out of school and start practicing. An amazingly hazardous undertaking, I may add, full of stresses and risks for the unwary. "

    Yes. In my own case, I kept expecting for this seeming contradition to become more clear, like some path would finally emerge that would make it all possible, albiet with a lot of hard work. Problem was it never did.

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