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New Lawyers Enter Unemployment or Work Temp Jobs

Updated on July 12, 2011

For many new lawyers who are now able to call themselves "an attorney" after four hard years of study and a huge student loan debt (not to mention the Bar exam), the disillusionment has hit. The high unemployment has quashed the dreams of making serious, big money, per hour, like, $125-200 for these new lawyers. While it may not always be like this, many have been humbled out of big name law schools when they remain unemployment or working as a "temp". This is something they did not expect and thought they had left far behind in their work history. After all, just getting into a prestigious law school or any any law school is difficult in itself. The new lawyers face the same competition as someone applying at ACE hardware, it is just at a "higher" level. One entry level attorney job paying $6000 a month can easily have 50-100 applicants and the panel of 3-4 interviewers grill the newbie as to what they know and would their personality fit into the culture of the office. Applicants coming from prestigious law schools (Harvard, Stanford etc) have a huge advantage over those coming from a small local school like, Empire. Although the students learn identical subjects and take the identical Bar exam, big name law schools give the law student a great advantage-this is something you pay for.

Many new lawyers are from other careers and are from 35-55 yrs. Many graduate with $100,000 in debt. These new lawyers are then shocked, dismayed, depressed when they are earning only $15 hr. at huge law firm reviewing legal documents. This is common. Most take them because it is short term and could lead to a temp job paying as much as $33 hr. Even this decent rate is half of what an RN makes in many places. These new lawyers work at a computer of 10-12 hrs a day reading legal docs and code them according to litigation. About 10% of all the new lawyers out there landed only a temporary job. Many new grads are getting unemployment. The average wage for a new lawyer is $75 hr. Many new lawyers do fill their dreams, earning $160,000 at big corporate law firms, but many do not. They compete for whatever legal bits are left over. The temp jobs are better than nothing even though a worker who earns $20 hr., their agency bills the law firm $40 hr. Law firms bill from $325 to 500 for one hour's work from a new attorney.

Temp lawyers have their own competition, over 14,000, go online to look at legal specific jobs and postings. The new grads also face the competition from laid-off seasoned lawyers also looking for work. Some larger firms may hire 100 temp lawyers at $32 hr. to code the mountains of legal docs.

Even the "attorney" has been hit by the 10% unemployment.


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