Imagine yourself graduating from law school with a Juris Doctorate in Law. Next, you pass the state bar exam and eagerly start looking for a law firm to help you launch your career as a practicing attorney. Then reality sets in and you discover that today’s economy is also taking its toll on the legal profession.
You search and scour the legal trades, but opportunities are few and far between. It doesn’t take long for thoughts of desperation to set in realizing that you have to start paying back a couple hundred thousand dollars in student loans and you have no job. In a couple of months, you find yourself being unable to pay the rent on your apartment and your dreams of success begin to turn into nightmares of homelessness.
Then you hear that a law firm in Boston has a position. You eagerly look them up and find that they are hiring a full time attorney who will be given a full case load upon joining the firm. Everything sounds really good until you see the starting salary listed at only $10,000 per year. Yet, desperation drives you to apply for the position, believing that the pay will have to increase soon.
If you think this is just a make believe story, you could very well be wrong. In many cities around the country, law school graduates are finding it extremely difficult to find a job. Many of them are having to turn to work completely unrelated to law, just to survive.
With a market glut of fresh green law grads, Gilbert & O’Bryan LLP, a Boston Law firm, has recently posted a full time position, with case load for a starting pay of $10,000 per year. The minimum hourly wage in Massachusetts is $8 per hour for a yearly gross pay of $16,640 which means a full time burger flipper will make over half as much as Gilbert & O’Bryan’s starting full time attorney.
Believe it or not, according to Larry O’Bryan of the firm, they have already received over 30 applications for the position. When asked about the position, O’Bryan said that what they will provide a new associate is a wealth of valuable training and experience. Training and experience might be great, but paying the rent and putting food on the table is even better in my book. I wonder if the new hire at Gilbert & O’Bryan will charge less than the average $200 per hour fee as it will only take $4.81 an hour to cover their salary.
So parents, you may want to think twice about pushing your kids to become a lawyer. Law schools are expensive and in today’s economy, jobs are few and far between and those that can be found are not nearly as well paying as they once were. Perhaps though this is a fitting situation for a profession that continues to grossly overcharge clients for what the services they provide.