It’s too late for some grads, but it’s finally dawning on current law school students that there might not be a job as a lawyer for them when they finish.
Pragmatic law students are keeping their eyes on the prize (a career in law), but also identifying alternative career paths where their training will be valued and utilized. Despite what law school placement offices, purveyors of hosted blogging services for lawyers, and the publication that runs the law school ranking cartel say, pursuing a career in journalism or social media after law school would be like doubling down on a bet in order to win back half your money.
- Going from bad to worse: There are fewer salaried journalism jobs than there are salaried law jobs, and journalism’s numbers are declining faster. The few remaining journalism jobs are likely to be in niche segments where a legal background is not an advantage.
- Stiff competition: An interest in writing, and some desultory blogging and tweeting will not be enough to get you interviewed, let alone get a job. Even graduating journalism and public relations undergrads will have more direct experience with basic skills like writing for daily deadlines, knowledge of website development (HTML, XML, CSS) and social media monitoring platforms like Radian6. You’ll also be competing with unemployed/underemployed mid- and senior-level practitioners who will have even more experience and insights.
- Adjust your salary expectations downward: As the infographic below illustrates, salaries for entry-level social media jobs (without relevant work experience you’ll likely only be considered for those) don’t pay well, and salaries don’t ramp up into even the low six figures for several years (and that’s if you’re lucky). With undergrad AND law school debt to service, you might not be able to afford to chase your back-up dream.
One Bright Spot
As content marketing picks up speed in legal marketing, the demand for legal content — and therefore ghostwriters/paid contributors — is growing. Judging by what I’ve heard from former lawyers who are now full-time legal website copywriters, they get to do what they love for better pay than toughing it out as a solo.