Sunday, October 30, 2011

D.C. is no haven for recent law grads

When I was getting ready to graduate, several well-meaning people told me that Washington, D.C. was the place to look for jobs.  The federal government isn't getting any smaller, after all.  And I am told that there is a slightly higher percentage of people with law degrees working in non-attorney positions by choice in D.C.

My friends on the ground in D.C. told a different story. The market, they explained, is completely saturated.  There are a ton of law schools in the local area, not to mention graduates from top tier schools coming to D.C.  


This article in the Washington Examiner tends to validate their position.

Quick quote:
 "Here in the District, the situation is not as dire, but many are settling for jobs that fall short of the glamorous gigs they envisioned while piling up thousands of dollars in student loans."
 That's a bit of an understatement.  I can't help but speculate that the reason the situation in D.C. does not seem as dire is that people probably consider unpaid work "employment."    Unpaid internships are rampant in D.C., and I know more than one graduate of a D.C. area law school (not Georgetown) currently working for free.

The moral of the story:  a) Avoid law school like the plague.  b) Don't expect to do any better in D.C.

17 comments:

  1. Hell, there are about 15 law schools in the DC, MD, VA area. There are JDs galore in the nation's corrupt capital.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I used to work for the federal government and every fucking federal job for the past fuck knows how long has been extremely competitive. The government might have grown but federal jobs havent grown adn they are still and always have been some of the hardest jobs to get. Good wages, excellent benefits, good hours and above all else stability.

    ReplyDelete
  3. DC is a rough town. If you ever heard the NY saying, "if you can make it here; you can make it anywhere..."applies to DC's legal job market. I can give three pieces of advice to people wanting to break into DC:
    1)Living in DC is near NYC expensive. Get together a big cash reverse before moving here. It will be a long time before you get job.
    2)For a JD to work on federal job applications; you must pass the Bar.
    3)Use Admission on Motion to get into the DC Bar.
    4)Have a backup plan!

    theyuppieattorney.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. DC is a rough town. If you ever heard the NY saying, "if you can make it here; you can make it anywhere..."applies to DC's legal job market. I can give three pieces of advice to people wanting to break into DC:
    1)Living in DC is near NYC expensive. Get together a big cash reverse before moving here. It will be a long time before you get job.
    2)For a JD to work on federal job applications; you must pass the Bar.
    3)Use Admission on Motion to get into the DC Bar.
    4)Have a backup plan!

    theyuppieattorney.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Amen to that. I work as a government analyst instead of as an attorney and am grateful for the job. It beats some of the alternatives too:

    http://clarendon.patch.com/articles/life-after-law-young-lawyers-look-outside-legal-profession-to-meet-their-needs

    ReplyDelete
  6. You've got American University, Howard University, University of DC, George Washington University, Catholic University, and Georgetown University just in the city.

    Then in Baltimore there is the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Baltimore school of law.

    Virginia contains T14 member The University of Virginia. It also has a stand alone no name law school the Appalachian School of Law.
    Then it contains several law schools that stand with wider universities; Washington and Lee University, University of Richmond, William and Mary, and it has George Mason right on the Orange line into DC. The wider universities can be quite good, though Nando describes George Mason School of law as a First Tier Garbage Pit.
    Virginia also has two Fundamentalist Christian shitters Regent University and Liberty University.

    DC is jam packed with lawyers from every possible tier. You should not come down here to practice law unless you are fully connected; or barring that, want to be financially ruined and reduced to sleeping on a park bench on Pennsylvania Ave.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have been hearing a lot about how D.C. is the place to be. However, I didn't believe it for a second. How many law schools are in that city? I believe at least 2. Georgetown and some third tier school if I remember right. And right outside? Probably another handful. Oh, and people from every other school in the country going there thinking that it will be an easy place to get a job.

    (Just read the post above me-ikes, that's a lot of schools in one city. I'll be staying away, that's for sure.)

    ReplyDelete
  8. @ A Terrified Law Student: Not by ranking, most of the law schools between Maryland, DC and Virginia. I did not include Pennsylvania and Delaware though many commute to Maryland and DC for "regular jobs." This also does not include the IVY League and midwesterner recent law graduates and seasoned attorneys who transplant to the DC Metro area to fight over the scraps known as government jobs:
    1. Georgetown
    2. George Mason
    3. George Washington (a/k/a GW)
    4. UVA
    5. UDC
    6. University Maryland (University of Maryland System)
    7. University of Baltimore (University of Maryland System)
    8. Washington & Lee Law School
    9. College of William & Mary School of Law
    10.Liberty University School of Law (Lynchburg, VA)
    11.University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law
    12. Americn University School of Law
    13. Howard University Law School
    In other words, don't believe the hype. Believe this "no job for you."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. p.s. based on this list (1,2,3, 5, 12 and 13) are all in DC making it 6 law schools and not 2!

      Delete
  9. @ Anonymous, I forgot to mention Catholic University (in DC). Which would make SEVEN (7) law schools in Washngton DC along. Appalachian-never heard of. I spelled American University School of law No. 12 incorrectly...

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  11. It sounds as if D.C. is probably a terrible market. I wonder how terrible it is compared with the terrible market in my home state of Maine.

    Based on my own polling of last year's class at U. Maine Law, of those who passed the bar, about 50% landed a full-time job as an attorney. That's a little less than 40 students.

    Starting pay at the average small firm in Maine runs about $35k - $45k. This may or may not include health insurance, malpractice insurance, and/or bar dues. There are about 4 clerks hired per year. They earn $45 K with benefits. The big firms aren't really hiring. One or two students get a position with a big firm in Portland and get paid well: 60k with benefits. For these jobs, U Maine grads are usually competing with graduates from Harvard.

    How does that compare with D.C.?

    ReplyDelete
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