Okay, I confess. I have been doing a bit of job searching.
I know, I know. But I am not looking for a full time job. Just a job where I can work an hour or two a day from home, at maybe an hourly rate of $100+? Oh wait, such jobs don't exist? Crap.
In all seriousness, I would love to find something like that (maybe the salary is a bit unrealistic). I figure if I can write this blog every couple of days, why can't I get paid to do something a few hours a week? Surely I have some skills that someone somewhere out there would want to utilize and pay me for? So, as an unemployed attorney, I have been searching the most logical place for such an opportunity: Craigslist.
Believe it or not, if you go to Craigslist -> DC -> Jobs -> Part Time -> Telecommute -> Legal Jobs - some jobs actually exist. Most are for paralegals, secretaries, and filing assistants. But a couple have been for contract attorneys, to provide general assistance and legal research, which I think would suit me perfectly. I have probably spent the equivalent of a two week vacation on Westlaw. Legal research is something I definitely know how to do, for better or worse.
So when I saw these postings, I figured they were mine for the picking. I mean, who wouldn't want to hire me, with an ivy league law degree and five years of biglaw firm experience? They will be popping the champagne when they get my resume, right?
Not so much.
Guess what. I've applied for 3 of these contract positions, and no response! I even checked my email spam box - surely the offers must be in there. Then it dawned on me - I am now one of "them." "Them" being the unemployed attorneys, laid off or otherwise, that I've been reading about on Above the Law and pretty much any legal publication for the past two years. It doesn't matter that my departure from biglaw was voluntary. I have now joined the club.
You see, when I graduated from law school in 2005 a job was a given. At Penn, pretty much everyone I knew got multiple offers as a 2L, including myself (I even beat out my husband - the only thing I've ever "beat" him at, besides swimming ability). If you didn't get any offers, it was usually obvious why (undiagnosed Aspergers, the kid that got the one "C" in property, etc.). When I left Skadden, it was similarly easy for both my husband and I to get jobs, and we both had multiple offers. It was simply a matter of choosing which one. Somewhere along the way the economy tanked and the legal industry changed. But I wasn't really paying attention.
But now I've realized that there are still a lot of "them" out there. And if and when I compete for jobs with "them," I am not necessarily on the top rung. You know why? It's a big secret, but I'll divulge: all the currently employed, overpaid, biglaw associates have little to no practical experience. That means trial experience usually = none. For all you non-lawyers out there, you know all those courtroom drama shows, where attorneys shout dramatically in court, plead with the judge, and make a witness cry on the witness stand? That's not what we're doing. And maybe some of these employers actually want someone with practical skills, in addition to research skills. Weird.
A typical biglaw attorney won't take a deposition until perhaps their 6th year. And stand up in a courtroom? If it's not pro bono, you'll have to wait until you're a partner, or a senior, senior associate that was recently passed over for partner, if you're lucky. This means that if any biglaw attorney ever wants to scale down, and perhaps work for the small, local lawyer shop that expects its attorneys to speak in a courtroom, the said biglaw attorney is pretty much completely unqualified. To be sure, a law firm will teach you how to write well, do legal research and review thousands of documents at record pace. But if you choose to leave, the only thing you're really qualified to do is be a biglaw associate somewhere else.
Obviously, I am very lucky. I don't NEED a job. But, I have to admit, getting paid for a few hours of work a week would be nice. Really nice. It would make me feel less guilty about the Chai Lattes I buy at Starbucks and the fact that we still have a cleaning person come two times a month.
So if anyone out there needs a legal researcher, attorney blogger, or otherwise flexible job that I can do on my own time and requires no court appearances, I'm your woman. In the meantime, I'll just keep blogging.