Monday, November 1, 2010

Meeting another Poor Paralegal

Graduating to Unemployment, not Independence

It's been a while since my last post and I needed to give everyone an update.

So I celebrated my birthday and did some soul searching. I thought about my life, goals, where I want to be in the future and what I have to do to accomplish those goals. I cleaned out my bedroom, car, finances, donated old clothes I didnt need, re organized my book shelf and took care of everything that needed to be updated.

My birthday was interesting. I had a friend take me out for a drink in  West Hollywood at a fancy bar off of the Sunset Strip. I met a few people there through other friends and I even met some Attorneys and Paralegals. I met one girl who was really nice and started talking to me about her job, life, and just basic cocktail conversation. She was a pretty woman, cute but not hot. She had brownish/blonde hair, a bob cut and big blue eyes. She reminded me of Ally McBeal, only healthier and not as anorexically thin.

She told me about how she was excited to start a new job as a paralegal at an Intellectual Property Technology boutique in Santa Monica. She got a good job that paid a decent salary (65k a year, and yes I asked how much, I know it's rude but it was my birthday), good hours and nice working conditions. I talked to her about being a poor paralegal, and how the job market has been tough. She told me to hang in there and that I should find something. I began to talk to her about my classes and how I took civil litigation, contracts, probate, intellectual property, and then she said "Ugh I hated Intellectual property. That class was really boring and the tests were frustrating!"

I told her " Yes, I hated doing all those bootlean searches , trademark, and patent applications on the USPTO was very time consuming" and then she said "I know, I hate taking all those IP Classes, trademark was bad enough but unfair competition and monopolies was even worse.."

Suddenly I was baffled. I never heard of those electives? I didn't know we could take those kinds of classes as a paralegal? And I asked her which program she went to for her Paralegal Certificate and she got quiet and anxious. She grabbed the bartender and order us both 2 drinks (grey goose and cranberry juice) and then she avoided my question.  I asked her again and didn't understand why she was acting all weird.

But then the truth finally came out....

She told me she graduated from (  lower ranked ABA approved Law School in Northern California) * and she had a JD but she couldn't find any work as an Attorney. She graduated in 2003 and worked at several different Silicon Valley tech firms making good money but everything changed when the dot com bubble popped. She went to law school part time and was making $90,000-120,000 a year working in Sales and operations for various tech firms. She never even took the California Bar Exam and said she has been out of the legal profession for so long that she was lucky she had an engineer friend get her this job in LA.

I was shocked to receive such a strange birthday present:     I met another Poor Paralegal.

She even told me that she was living with her parents and it was hard being 34 and living at home, but in the past few years she was living off of unemployment and was just thankful she got this new job and she will hopefully make enough to move out on her own soon. I know its tough for a lot of young people these days, and many younger recent college graduates are even consolidating families and living with their parents since they can't get jobs and afford to move out on their own.

I was kind of sad on my birthday to be unemployed, but when I met people with more education, more student debt and in the same predicament, I realized that other people have it worse. I can't imagine how terrifying it must be for law school grads to have $150k+ in debt, have no jobs and settle for working as a paralegal.
The Great Recession of 2007-2010 has made it very difficult for young people to graduate, find jobs, get an apartment and live their own lives. It's very hard and now many generations are now living together. Just read the article below...

-The Poor Paralegal


  1. The unfortunate part is the cognative dissonance that goes on with all who are related to law: on the one hand "Ugh, I hated taking IP classes" and on the other "Thank God I have a paralegal position at an IP firm."


    The sad truth is most of us have to whore ourselves out in order to make a living and stay one step ahead of our creditors. Whether or not we love the subject matter or even have a meangingful life is immeterial. Yay, communism...wait, I meant banker-controlled-politicians-in-their-back-pocket capitalism.

  2. Look how many Class of 2009 law grads went to find work as paralegals.

    Fully 171 out of the 18,496 survey respondents who reported being employed in a law firm. And how many of those poor souls took out $120K in non-dischargeable debt for the privilege of being a paralegal?!

  3. This group is for those who believe the US Department of Education should strip the American Bar Association of its accreditor status.
    On facebook, check out the page: NO WAY ABA!/pages/NO-WAY-ABA/157102307664191?v=info

  4. You should see the NYC Craig's List Legal section. Apparently, some of these people think they have positions as desirable as those in the entertainment field. One firm ticked me off enough w/disguising an "internship" as free labor that I'm reporting it to the NYS Division of Labor. Having assisted paralegals myself before becoming a lawyer, I know for a fact there's no reason anyone needs to be a "paralegal intern."

  5. Expect more of this to happen in which paralegals, despite being trained and even having experience, are going to get squeezed out of jobs by recent law grads and non-admitted attorneys. There is simply an over- supply of attorneys and law grads right now and just not enough of jobs to match the percentage looking to be gainfully employed in the legal market. I think the US legal field has seen its glory days and those of us who are either professional legal support, or even worse, graduates from TTT's, may need to seriously rethink our career paths.

  6. Well, that really happens in a college batch. All of those in one class takes up the same course and graduated for the same diploma but not all of them are successful. This happens with all of the courses out there but it doesn't mean that the course taken was a failure, maybe there are just too many of them professional (in the same field) working in that specific state. What do you do? Look for opportunities in other locations.