Several years ago, an employee who curated content for our company website and was making around $120,000 a year was recruited to teach at a fourth-tier law school for a higher salary and less work.
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Over the past several years, law schools all over the United States have gone on a building spree. When you walk around some of these law schools, it’s like visiting the Roman Empire at its zenith. These schools have faculty paid to think and teach very little; the campuses boast giant fountains and new, state of the art facilities accented with tons of marble. Until recently, these law schools had students clamoring to get into them. People were willing to pay exorbitant tuitions in hopes of getting to the Promised Land where affluence and prestige awaited.
I review hundreds of attorney and law school resumes every day as part of my job. I run three national legal recruiting firms, a legal outplacement firm, and the largest job site for attorneys in the United States. I talk to countless attorneys each week. While there are some success stories, the vast majority of people who go to law school and graduate in this economy are not headed for anything special. In fact, the waste of the skills of these promising young people boggles my mind and has progressively gotten worse over the past decade.
- A lot of them will get jobs that do not require a law degree.
- Many will work as contract attorneys mindlessly reviewing documents for years on end.
- Many will unsuccessfully try and start solo practices.
- Some will have to get jobs inside of corporations.
- Others will bounce around from job to job for years — always a bit angry there isn’t more.
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Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays
You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts
You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives
Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.