Thursday, September 9, 2010

Good intentions

Yesterday, I changed my Linkedin profile to display "attorney" rather than "law clerk" as my occupation.  I never really use Linkedin (since most lawyers don't even know what it is), so I really didn't think anyone would notice.

This morning, I had this message in my inbox from a woman I know: "Congrats! You finally got your lawyer job!  I'm so happy for you!"

Oh, man.  How do I respond to that? 

Thank her for the sentiment, but assure her that the job search continues?  Apologize, and say that I didn't intend to mislead her - only potential employers?  Pretend to have a new job to avoid an awkward email conversation?

At the very least, I probably shouldn't mention that her congratulatory email was a crushing reminder of the fact that I don't, in fact, have a new job. 

This was not a good way to start my day.


  1. I don't know, better to be aspirational than not. And you are an attorney, right? Doesn't matter what your current job title is. I think you'd be surprised how many lawyers are on Linkedin. If you know folks who might have contacts, it's a great way to tighten up some weak connections. I often post interesting jobs that I've noticed on my LinkedIn page in case colleagues are interested.

    And since you're already at a 7, I've been meaning to comment on how "downstate blows". Lots of good press recently on the opportunities for rural practice. Also, I'm on my 5th job in 15 years since law school; no position is forever. Even if you've got to stick it out a couple of years, if you're practicing and that's what you want to do, you may find it's not long before either (a) downstate blows less or (b) you can move on. Me, I didn't like law practice!

  2. 1) Yeah, I'm definitely an attorney. I just don't feel like much of one. Actually, my resume, other websites, etc., all say "attorney." I just don't use Linkedin very often, so it slipped through the cracks.

    2) I find that lawyers don't use Linkedin nearly as much as other professions. My friends in sales and finance absolutely love Linkedin, but I don't know a lot of lawyers using it. I really do feel that lawyers have been slow to pick up on Linkedin.

    3) I know downstate doesn't actually blow. I grew up there and have no complaints. I wouldn't even mind settling down there eventually. It's just not somewhere I want to be at this point in my life.

    4) I don't anticipate liking the practice of law. My opinions on this are probably pretty skewed based on what my exposure to law has been like, but I don't see myself practicing law in 10 years.

  3. I have to stop reading your blog. I used to take such glee in your misery because you seemed like a jerk who deserved it. Then reading about your suffering stopped being fun. Now I'm starting to pity you a bit.

  4. Saw your post on the envelopes. Ouch.

    Have you ever thought about going alternative now, rather than in 10 years? It might be a way to stay in Chicago and leverage your J.D.. You might look at legal non-profits (ABA has a number of jobs that prefer a JD but aren't legal; has jobs at other-non-profits, and salary may be better than outside metro Chicago), or even law firms ('s job bank has a number of spots preferring a JD (like Those positions would have different types of experience requirements that you might be able to fill based on your background, including your current experience. I'm sure you're getting lots of advice, so I won't pile on any more.

    Of course, going non-trad is hard in a couple of ways. People sometimes don't understand that it's a choice, and that can be mentally hard/annoying to deal with. It can also mean some zig zagging to get back to traditional practice if you change your mind.

  5. Hey, thanks for the suggestions. I do get advice from a lot of people, but it's always good to get more.

    As far as alternative careers go, I have thought about it, but have run into a few problems:

    1) I would like to practice law for a bit before giving up on it. Admittedly, this is partially coming from my parents, but they make a good point. There's a chance that I just hate my current job (and hated law school), but will enjoy actually practicing.

    2) Let's face it, once you're out of law, you're probably out for good. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I think you'll have to admit that the "zig-zagging" would be pretty tough.

    3) I've found the "JD preferred" jobs to be few and far between. Though I'll definitely check out the links you included. Maybe I've been looking in the wrong spots.

    4) Regarding going very non-traditional, my attempts have been very depressing. I'm either overqualified (and I use that term loosely) or I'm stuck having to explain away my law degree. I seriously got more interviews by taking law school off of my resume.