Everyone knows (or should know) that it’s a rough job market for lawyers, and has been since around 2007. A combination of:
- The recession
- Flat demand for legal services
- Overabundance of law schools & graduates
- Off-shoring & near-shoring of work
- Companies bringing more work in-house
- The legal industry finally adopting technology from other industries
- The legal industry finally adopting best practices/management from other industries
Has all lead to rough times for lawyers looking for jobs. But every now & then something really egregious shows up that people have to reject on its face.
A couple days ago I ran across this job listing:
Lawyer position requirements:
– 5-7 years experience
– 20+ jury trials to completion
– Exceptional organization, writing, and advocacy skills
Starting pay: $55,000.
— Keith Lee (@associatesmind) March 5, 2018
It…didn’t go over well with folks. On Twitter, the reactions were swift and vicious:
$90k is laughable. $55k is criminal.
— Steven Shaw (@stevethelawyer) March 5, 2018
Every person thinking about going to law school should have to read this.
— Roxanne Eberle (@wildskylaw) March 5, 2018
LOLOLOL GTFO pic.twitter.com/j0CC8DQOhZ
— Josh (@ArmyJew) March 5, 2018
LawyerSmack Immediate Reaction
The reactions in LawyerSmack were even more brutal.
Mike: 20 or so jury trials for a prosecutor on a misdo docket doesn’t seem out of line but for that person they want 4x that. Kristen how many trials do you do in a year?
Ken: “Hear me out, why not leave state employment to take private employment with worse hours, less salary, and less job security?”
Kristen: I did 5 my first year, 8 my second, and I’m at 3 about to be 4 at 4 months into year 3. But I go to trial a little more than my colleagues I think.
Mike: I’m set to do 4 in my first year in Michigan, I think. 3x felony and 1 30 day misdo.
I wonder if they count civil bench trials? And if they do, do I get to count a DNR forfeiture? 😉
Peter: “We want someone experienced, but we don’t really want to pay them that much.”
Mike: The pay of course is the big joke. The unicorn with that level of experience probably exists, they aren’t looking for that job though.
Peter: Yeah, for that kind of experience, 90k should be the minimum, not the cap. My prosecutor friends see a lot of trials, but 80+ in 5-7 years?
Mike: I’m not sure who outside of the PD office or a prosecutor’s office is doing 20 in a 5-7 years. Maybe 30 years ago when the guy looking to hire started out.
Peter: For district attorneys, they want 80+.
Mike: Quite clear from the context of the ad that they don’t even want a pd.
Trio: Wait, the 20 was for non-DAs? There is no 5-7 year exp civil litigator in the country that is averaging 3-4 jury trials a year. I don’t believe it Unless they are throw away cases in shitty jurisdictions
Peter: “and for a former District Attorney…we would expect four times that many trials to verdict if not more” Trio: That’s insane. it’s diminishing returns.
Peter: But no more than 10 years experience, in case you’re “so set in their own ways that it will not be a good match” Do PI attorneys churn through that many jury trials?
Trio: PI attorneys settle cases. Most PI attorneys run a cookie cutter practice
Peter: (that’s what I thought but I’m trying to figure out how to get that many jury trials)
Trio: There are the few that go after whales in each jurisdiction and run a niche million dollar verdict practice – but those are rare same with torts. Who would respond to that ad, that’s what I’m wondering. redflag city
Of course, not everyone was available immediately after I shared the above in LawyerSmack. So I also
threw it to the wolves asked some LawyerSmack members who weren’t immediately around to contribute reactions to the job posting:
“If you’ve tried 20+ cases to verdict and are excited to get paid $55k, I’m assuming that your win percentage was worse than the Bucs in the 70’s.”
- Sean Lynch: If this isn’t a joke, it should be. That’s insulting to any career professional.
- Rumple: No harm in asking, is there? If someone is willing to work for that wage, then it’s reasonable. If they can’t find a suitable candidate, then it’s not.
- Anonymous Insurance Defense Attorney: I see ads like this all the time. They’re very disheartening because it shows an employer who obviously doesn’t have realistic expectations; imagine how much worse they’d be as a boss!
- CorpCounsel – There was a time in my life when I would have jumped at that opportunity. I’m printing this and hanging it at my desk to remind myself of how much worse it could be.
- Cog: The unreasonable number expectations of that ad aside…That firm is clearly full of dickheads. They need to pay you three times as much for the assholes you’d obviously have to work with.
- Tripp Watson: If you’ve tried 20+ cases to verdict and are excited to get paid $55k, I’m assuming that your win percentage was worse than the Bucs in the 70’s. Does the position come with a participation trophy?
“Looks like when I put up my $4k motorcycle up for sale for $10k every spring to keep my wife happy.”
- Joe Delamater Razumich & Delamater PC: This is silly at best. It’s entry-level pay. I understand wanting to ensure that your new hire will hit the ground running. But this just notifies the applicant that it’s going to be a terrible place to work. Applicant won’t be valued appropriately. The firm clearly values trial experience differently (State v. Defense have different minimums for the position). This is just silly. If you’re going to offer 55k, you need to expect to train that person. You need to post a bonus incentive structure. This applicant needs to see why they’d even bother because if they’ve tried that many cases they likely have a good practice going already!
- what_how: Entry level pay for way over-experienced employee? LOL is right.
- @billmhours: I’ve seen worse, this’ll probably be really exciting for ADAs and PDs who have been making ~$35k for the past 5 years.
- Chad Murray – Chad Murray Law: $55k for 20 trials and the required experience? Bullshit. $90k? Relatively reasonable. 80 trials if you’re an ADA or similar? How about no? Does no work?
- Anonymous Canadian Lawyer: Not quite seven years in, around 50 judge-alone trials (bench trials). Wouldn’t work for them, already make more than that.
- DaveCA – California attorney: That’s what I made at my first job when I had only seen the inside of a courtroom on a tour. Banking on desperate applicants is a safe bet, but so is thinking this employer is going to make their life miserable too.
- YoungCountryLawyer: There is no way they expect anyone to seriously apply considering the pay and the desired experience. Looks like when I put up my $4k motorcycle up for sale for $10k every spring to keep my wife happy.
The job market for lawyers is rough, but hopefully its not that rough.
Want to complain about bad lawyer pay away from prying eyes??