Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Smoke and mirrors

As I've mentioned, I'm beginning to go to court.  This is part of Attorney 2's "smoke and mirrors" idea of allowing me to call myself an attorney for resume purposes, yet not actually hiring me on as an associate.

Now, I'm faced with the problem of how to appropriately phrase this on my resume.  Here's what I have to work with:
1) I've been working here for over three years;
2) I was licensed in 2008;
3) The "smoke and mirrors" has only been in effect for three weeks;
4) I'm not actually an associate;
5) I desperately need a new job.

If you have any ideas about the best way to work "attorney" into my resume, I'm open to suggestions.


  1. 1. Ask your boss to give you a title other than associate, like Deputy Assistant White House Counsel.

    2. Call yourself a "Going to Court Dude."

    3. Forget about characterizing your current job and just emphasize the fact that you are not fat.

  2. Easy. List on there, somewhere, that you are a licensed attorney in good standing. While you're at it, go get yourself admitted to a federal court or something, and throw that on there as well.

  3. Depending on who you're applying for, I'd just change the way you list your position. Take all of the titles off, and instead list the functions you've performed.

    [Law firm]
    Represented firm in court proceedings
    Prepared and filed motions with court

    Looks a lot like you're an associate, if you say it that way, even if that's not your title.

    Good luck (as ever)

  4. Anonymous:
    Helpful, as always. I obviously already have a section devoted to the fact that I'm not fat. Sometimes I wonder if you even read my blog or just post random comment.

    I already have on there that I'm a licensed attorney. I'm just trying to pretend as though I have experience working at an attorney, since that's what people appear to be looking for. Getting admitted to fed. court isn't a bad idea...

    I like where you're going. I am changing my job functions, but I specifically want to include attorney in my job title. I'm trying to figure out the best way of doing so, so that it looks like I've been working as an attorney for a while.

  5. The general term for what you do is "of counsel"; but that usually means an experienced attorney with a loose association with the firm. Your using that term on a resume will give away that you're paid by the hour and with free office space. Have him call you an associate. Associate doesn't have mean an employee.

    I was you 10 years ago. It gets much better.

    If you don't mind my asking, what area of law do you practice and what area do you intend to practice?

    In your free time, stick your head in court and watch. What we do is not rocket science; the average bailiff could practice most areas of law if he had a paper saying he's a lawyer.

    I'm afraid I'm not hiring, but I'm happy to share a decade's worth of Chicago law experience if you have questions.

  6. I do not post randomly, I read your blog regularly. Of all the blogs in the "smug asshole laid low by circumstances refuses to learn lesson, so fuck him, enjoy laughing at his pain" category, yours is my favorite.

  7. at 7:47 -

    Could you share your thoughts on the state of the Chicago legal community? I understand the market is extremely tight right now, but do you think it will improve or would it be wise to consider looking in other markets?

    I, too, am a young attorney in Chicago. I am thankful to be gainfully employed as an attorney. However, I don't see much long-term potential in my current job (no room for growth). I love practicing in Chicago and have ties here, but I am wondering whether I should look elsewhere due to the market. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  8. 10:17 pm:

    Thanks for responding to my comment. I actually haven't looked for work in almost a decade so I don't have direct knowledge of the employment market; but I heard it is bad. Every self employed lawyer that I spoke with, myself include, had a bad year last year.

    I don't have any information whether Chicago is better or worse than other markets. I think the collapse of the global economy has hurt all occupations everywhere, including lawyers. I don't have information regarding which cities are better or worse.

    My amateur, non-economist, opinion is that the economy, including law, will improve next year. It may not be smoking hot, but I think it will be better. But your guess is as good as mine.

    I can't really give you more information without knowing what practice areas you practice and are interested in.

    I'm happy to email or talk personally with you.
    I'm hesitant to post my private email or phone # on someone else's comments which I can't then erase. If you follow to my blog patentcontingency.wordpress.com and leave a comment reminding me of this conversation; I'll post my email address so you can contact me.
    Or if you feel comfortable doing so, post your email on these comments and I'll email you.

    I'm happy to answer any questions that I can. Older lawyers were kind enough to do the same for me a decade ago. It comes full circle.

  9. 10:17 pm:

    I'm also happy to have the discussion in these comments if you feel comfortable doing so.
    What area are you currently practicing, and why do you feel it's dead end?
    What area do you hope to one day practice; ie. what's your ultimate career goal and how can we work backwards from it?

  10. 7:47pm:

    Thanks for the helpful comments. I currently practice in a fairly niche area. So much so that talking about it would all but give away which firm I work at. Let's just say I do collections.

    Ideally, I'd like to get involved in health law. However, finding any job has been impossible, much less a job in a particular area. So, I'd take pretty much anything right now.

    I'll start reading your blog. Though I'm having a little trouble finding it at the moment.


    Yay, I'm your favorite!

  11. This is 10:17:

    Sorry for the slow response, busy day today. I want to make sure I protect my identity, but I can give some specific information. A few initial matters. First, thanks to the older commenters for your willingness to share your thoughts. Also, thanks to the author (I've been reading for a while). Hopefully you will find any responses to my question(s) helpful too.

    Second, patentcontingency, I am having trouble finding your blog. Can you provide a link? I would be more than happy to send you my email address via your blog and would be grateful for the opportunity to do so. I read your comments on other blogs, like law students should not consider themselves as employees but as employers, and found it to be very helpful.

    As for me, I am generally in a pretty good spot. I graduated a few years ago and am currently clerking for a state appellate judge in Chicago. I have been in my position for close to 2 years. Prior to that, I worked in a small litigation shop doing a speciality area that mostly involved federal law (don't want to get more specific because it might give my identity away). I readily admit that, given the legal market, I have been fortunate to be employed for the last few years in good jobs.

    The problem I have, and what is discouraging, is that it seems that there are very few opportunities in Chicago to move on after my clerkship. I enjoy clerking, but have never thought of it as something I want to do for the rest of my career. When I first started clerking, previous law clerks told me it was fairly common to clerk for a few years and then lateral into a midsize or small litigation boutique firm. However, now, it appears those opportunities have dried up because law firms are simply not looking to hire attorneys. Plus, the market is saturated with legions of laid off associates still looking for work. Sadly, I have many friends who were laid off from top firms over a year ago that have yet to find work.

    So I guess my question boils down to this - do you think the Chicago legal market will improve again and return to the point where law firms are more willing to hire new attorneys. Or, is the Chicago market stretched to the point where, even when the economy finally recovers, the legal community will still never be as fluid as it once was? Stated differently, is this harsh market the result of the bad global economy with better days ahead, or is legal profession undergoing structural changes which will result in a fundamentally different profession?

    I know this is a tough question with no clear answers, but any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Again, I feel very fortunate to be where I am at. And unlike a lot of scam bloggers (the author of this blog excluded), I am not disillusioned by the profession. I really enjoy practicing law, particularly in Chicago, but am just worried about the long term business side of this profession.

    Thanks for your responses.

  12. Hi 10:17: (& other new grads)

    Feel free to follow this link back to my blog. I have my email address posted as a post.

  13. Here's how you handle it. You don't identify yourself as an associate. Just list XYZ law firm and underneath then your experience. This makes it look like you were an associate - attending hearings, legal research, etc.