Sunday, February 27, 2011
Two JD's and One Paralegal fighting for a job
Yeah, I am still here. I went on eight job interviews this past week and it has been very exhausting. Five of the jobs were for sales/contracts management jobs, and one was for marketing for a health care company. Only two of the jobs were in the legal industry, one as a file clerk and another as a paralegal.
I interviewed for a paralegal position with Iona, Hugh, Jass LLP* in the south bay of Los Angeles.
I showed up at the paralegal interview in my black suit, clean cut and writing samples in my brief case. I spoke to the receptionist about my scheduled interview and how I arrived 20 minutes early to meet with the hiring partner. As I waited patiently in the lobby, I picked up The New Yorker and Forbes and began to stare at the clock. Suddenly, a cute little east Asian girl came running into the lobby and rushed up the secretary.
"Thank you for giving me the key to the restroom, is the hiring manager ready yet?" she said.
"Yes, just have a seat, and he will be with you in a minute or two." replied the secretary.
The cute little Asian girl sat right next to me and started picking up the magazines. She told me that she loved reading The New Yorker, and how she was very enthusiastic about her job interview. She wore a tight grey flannel pant suit and her perfume was too strong. I didn't say anything to her, but she must have been extremely nervous since she kept giving me her life story.
It was the Amy* the cute Asian girl. She said " Iona , Hugh, Jass* is very good firm. I even remember hearing about some of their cases when I was in law school. I am sure they will be able to help you with all of your construction needs!"
Suddenly it hit me...
Amy thought I was a client waiting in the lobby and that I was going to Iona, Hugh, Jass* for civil litigation needs. I didn't reveal the true nature of my status as a poor paralegal, or that I was there for a job interview, but I just let her go on and on. In the next 10 minutes or so I pretty much found out that she was looking for any legal job she could find.
She graduated with a BA in Journalism from a state school and then went to Southwestern for law school in LA. She used to work at a high end cosmetics line at a big department store in LA ( think Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus) and made about $40,000 working cosmetics, and was sick of working in retail so she applied to law school. She told me her managers in cosmetics were making $60,000-70,000 a year, and that she may end up going back to work in retail if she can't find any law related job. During our conversation, she even spilled the beans and said,
" I am actually a recent law school graduate who finished in 2009. I am interviewing for an entry level paralegal position at Iona, Hugh, Jass*. I've heard such great things about this place, and I hope I can learn the practical skills of civil litigation and get promoted to being an associate attorney if they hire me. I am sure they will be the best attorneys to help you with all your legal matters."
I told her "Well, good luck on your job interview. Hopefully they will pick a smart woman such as yourself to work as a paralegal for this firm." and she replied "I hope so, but the competition is fierce in this economy. I just saw one of my old classmates leave before I arrived. I think he was interviewing for the paralegal job I want!"
The secretary called Amy from the lobby, and she said "I have to go now, but it was so nice meeting you. Please, Please pray that I get this job.. I REALLY NEED IT! Have a great day!"
The secretary then came up to me and said I would have to wait another 15-20 minutes before my interview.
However, I already got the reality check, and I knew that my interview was probably over before it even started.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Listen folks, it's pretty pathetic when you go for a Paralegal job interview and everyone who is interviewing for that position has a JD. The vast majority of law school graduates, even from many top schools are working as paralegals and taking the jobs away from other paralegals, because they can't find anything else.
The girl I met even told me that once you leave the profession as an attorney or work in a non legal related field, it is extremely hard to get back into the legal profession. My interview went well with the law firm I interviewed with, but I am not getting my hopes up since they are also interviewing law school graduates for paralegal positions! If you do foolishly decide to attend law school, be forewarned, you may end in a job that is quasi legal. You will be a paralegal, file clerk, administrator or legal secretary. Taking out 180k in debt and spending 3 years in law school to get a job where you will answer phones, work on Microsoft Word and use Outlook all day long really isn't worth it.
-The Poor Paralegal
* Name has been changed to protect privacy
Iona, Hugh, Jass = I own a Huge Ass