Haven't practiced law for 14 years after law school but now am thinking about it - will I get hired?

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

24 months ago

You may have trouble getting interviews, much less being laughed out of them. At least around here, openings for any kind of biller, be it attorneys or paralegals, are few and far between. One has the recession to thank for that.

In the meantime, with fewer staff attorneys have become more self supporting. Even old-school attorneys have learned computers. Also while you were away, electronic case filing has been established in local and federal courts, enabling 24/7 pleadings filings. ECF has further enabled attorneys to become more self supporting. For all these reasons, openings are sparse.

Finally, IMO firms may feel you're stale. Of course, CLE can bring you back up to speed. So it may not be so easy. You may find yourself doing temp document review for $15/hour or whatever it pays.

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

24 months ago

Well.......you would be essentially entry level. Current, experienced lawyers among those caught in the recession-spawned mass layoff frenzy are having trouble finding jobs. Fresh, licensed entry level lawyers are having more trouble.

Obviously you need to take the bar. I understand the NY bar is a real SOB. But after you pass and are licensed IMO you would have options, e.g., opening your own office. I mention that because IMO you could use your marketing knowledge to grow a practice.

Maybe your marketing knowledge might help you land interviews if you don't care to start your own office. Of course in interviews you would have to say why you opted to return to law. Nothing wrong with that, but in this tight market, as Ricky said to Lucy, you would have some 'splainin to do. You may be able to sell your marketing skills to firms that market extensively, such as estate planning and elder law firms.

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sdfsfsf sfdsfsdf in new york, New York

24 months ago

Can some real lawyers respond? Paralegals obviously are clueless when they tell me to open my own law firm when I have zero experience practicing law.

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

24 months ago

Not as clueless as you may be or think we are, my friend. You did say you have zero experience practicing law; I worked for attorneys in multiple practices for more than ten years. That is ten years more experience in law than you have.

Also you either did not read or failed to consider that with a law license you have the option - I repeat, option - to open your own firm. Further, you CAN open your own firm and be successful. I know an attorney in California who started with a strike against him; he graduated from a non-ABA-accredited law school. He passed the Cal bar on the first try, which, as you know or should know, is no mean feat; the Cal bar is as tough if not tougher to pass on the first try as the NY bar. Despite that feat, no firm would hire him because he did not attend an ABA law school. So he started his own firm with a $3,000 loan from his grandmother. He had zero experience practicing law. In time, he became quite successful.

Perhaps you should receive the above suggestions in the positive spirit they are given instead of coming back with attitude.

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

24 months ago

One more example. A law firm in this city was started by three fresh law school grads. This firm is now one of the major law firms here and a player in state and national politics.

You can read about the firm at this link:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownstein_Hyatt_Farber_Schreck

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

24 months ago

Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York said: He has little chance of working as an attorney unless it's some super small town where the supply pool of attorneys to choose from is equally small.
Agreed, he/she would have it tough if he tried to open a firm in NYC. But he/she has to start somewhere. And, again, given my two examples, it can be done.

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Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

24 months ago

Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York said:
He has little chance of working as an attorney unless it's some super small town where the supply pool of attorneys to choose from is equally small.

I actually meant little chance of working for someone else. 14 years is a lifetime.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

23 months ago

You should go to abovethelaw.com. That's the place for lawyers.
I am thinking of another site too. I will have to look.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

23 months ago

Also go to counsel.net.

I also suggest your join the New York Bar Association and your county association. Since you went through law school you should qualify to join. As far as taking the Bar, enroll in the study programs for it.

These small steps will help to reorient you into being a lawyer.
Also, if you qualify, volunteer for your county bar. I really suggest you join the local bar association first because those are the people you want to get acquainted with. Start out easy, like going to their monthly lunches.

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Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

23 months ago

Mary,

Do you really think some firm will hire him? C'mon. Maybe some small firm in the boonies. 14 long years.

He's better off staying in marketing.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

23 months ago

It doesn't matter what we think. What matters is his drive, his ambition, what he can set up as a nitch, what he can get others (who are lawyers and can make things happen) believe in him.

There are loads of people who were told, 'Don't waste your time.' And those people knew what they wanted, had the drive, and made it happen.

All he has to do is take the bar. That could be $500 or could be $2,000. It won't cost him any more financially, or take him years to attempt. He might as well do it.

cont

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

23 months ago

cont

Yeah, he might be better off in marketing. Maybe not. Since all he has to do is take and pass the bar, he could be at entry level in less than six months.

Might be better off in marketing? All his previous experience might make him a dang fantastic business attorney.

I see opportunity. I see little financial output. I see little time or money needed to be put out to try. I say GO FOR IT.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

23 months ago

cont.

I hadn't worked as a court reporting in twenty years (nor practiced). After a "review your resume" session as my State College, the reality of my situation set in. I couldn't wait to get home. I got a can of Coke, went into the closet and got out my writer, stared at it, changed the ribbon, sat my but down - and I got reoriented. Started out by just simple sentences. Found free sample practice on the internet. Bought tapes.

I started out at 100 words a minute (I needed 225). I practiced every day for three years. It took me a year to find a firm willing to take me.

I am now working again as a court reporter. Five years ago, I would have said no way - ever. I made it happen.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

23 months ago

typo alert!!!!!

court reporting
butt

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Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

23 months ago

In 14 years how many students have graduated law school.
How many people have passed the bar in 14 years.
How many experience lawyers and paralegals have been laid off in the last 5 years and are looking for work.

Unless he really loves the law and not just looking for another job, that's a battle I wouldn't want to go thru.

3 years huh???

I like the start your own firm idea.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

23 months ago

He wants professional advice from other lawyers, not us. I gave him basic info on how to get in touch with other lawyers. At this point, all he has to do is take the bar. That's it. It won't cost him any more than that. Paralegals don't fit into this scenario. They aren't even close to attorneys.

Yes, there are lots of attorneys without work. What a bummer. If it doesn't work out for this guy, then he has another notch on his belt and can move on from there.

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

23 months ago

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida said: Paralegals don't fit into this scenario. They aren't even close to attorneys.
No, they are not, but that doesn't invalidate their suggestions. Paralegals work with and are around attorneys and law firms. They understand the business. Paralegals know far more about law firms than they are given credit for.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

23 months ago

All he has to do is take the bar, pass it - and then go market himself. He has been marketing himself for years.

He also has the ability to put out his own shingle. He has nothing to lose and could have everything to gain.

And if it doesn't work out, then so what. He still wins.

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