or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Business, Careers & Education › Naked JD - What to do?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Naked JD - What to do?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
I need some advice and really have no one to talk to about it.

I graduated in 2010 with a JD from a CA school and I do not have a license to practice law. Took the CA bar once and failed. Since then I have yet to take another bar exam and am currently live in the DC metro area (moved back here 8mos ago) where I grew up.

I had a really rough time in law school and post-law school and was never able to get any traction with regards to building towards a career. As a result I have little (practically none) experience actually working in the legal field. I have a lot of regrets about how I handled my law school experience and would've done a million things differently, possibly never having gone/dropping out.

I live with my gf who has been extremely supportive of my decisions and have literally followed me around the country. I do think I will marry her in the near future.

Currently I work part time at 3 different jobs to make ends meet (~60+hrs). One of my "jobs" is an (unpaid) internship with a solo practitioner. My GF and I make just enough to scrape by; we usually have <$20 in our checking/savings accts after the 1st of the month lol.

As a result, given my current obligations, it is very difficult for me to pay/study for the bar. Also I am always stressed out, and have little motivation to study for it because whenever I get downtime, I just want to relax.

I liked law school and want to practice law. I'm not one of those people who believes that a JD "opens a lot of doors to a wide range of jobs." I went to law school to practice law. In fact my experiences have shown the opposite. It is impossible for me to get even a paralegal/legal assistant/doc review job (since many actually require a license). I want to continue in the legal field, but cannot work for less than $25/hr, when most of those jobs are are in the unpaid-$12/hr range.

For legal professionals out there, or those who are in my boat, what advice would you give to someone trying desperately to strike a balance between the necessity of working to make ends meet and taking the bar? How much hope should I hold out to ever gaining entry into the legal field? Even if I get my license?

I cannot take out a bar loan (I've tried) and my family can only help me out so much. Right now I can pay for the Feb. exam, but think that it may be a waste of money since I haven't studied much and will probably have to pay an extra $200 late fee because it's registration process is a goddamn hassle. Having to wait until July to take the exam and Nov to get the results is a scary thought too.

I am so lost frown.gif
post #2 of 52
CA bar is the hardest in the nation so do not feel bad. What area of area do you want to practice?

A JD is still a good thing to have and you can get into lobbying since you're in DC. Why not take the DC bar?
post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 
I can't really afford $800 to take it right now, just the $200 for the exam itself. The $375 I'll have to save up for the character application.

Also I don't see myself committing the hours to study for the Feb one. So putting that money in right now will stress us out financially even more, especially if I don't think I'll pass. But not having a license and therefore being able to get a legal career is equally stressful.

I want to do IP/media law. I was doing work with copyrights/DMCA. Since I'm an avid gamer, there are a lot of issues to get excited about. But honestly, I am open to anything that pays (decently).
post #4 of 52
Thread Starter 
Lobbying seems cool too, but I have no idea where to start with that.
post #5 of 52
Lobbying is primarily about access and the number of lobbyists with no public sector/political experience is pretty small. Some people do get right into lobbying after law school but that's rare.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, a lot of lobbyists aren't attorneys.
post #6 of 52
Well, not to state the obvious, but you really need to take the bar and get yourself licensed. Regardless of any regrets about how you might have done things differently, you've already gone through the hell of law school and you actually want to practice law. It would be tragic to not take that last step.

Is there really no family you can borrow from? You're talking about $1,000-1,500 in expense to fund a lifetime career that could bring a lot of good things to you and your family. What you're doing now is not going to get you anywhere and is not sustainable. Do what you must to buckle down and pass the February exam.
post #7 of 52
seriously, if need be take out a CC and put $1500 on it - it's worth it.
post #8 of 52
Thread Starter 
you guys are right. i 100% have the intention to take the bar exam.

my only worry is that right now im not sure i have the ability (motivation) to bunker down and study enough to pass.

moneywise, i may be able to borrow the money from family, but it will be tough. i dont have any CCs so i cant charge it to the game.

how much worse off will i be if i dont take the feb bar and practically wait one year to get my license (if i pass the july bar)? take into account by that time will be out of law school for 3.5 years, with scattered and limited work experience in the legal field.

right now im working in the family business selling insurance and doing various odd jobs. in addition, we really dislike the dc area and hope to move back to CA in the future. my gf wants to leave in a year, but realistically, we know thats not going to be possible for a while, especially since we just made the cross country move -____-
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheessus View Post

you guys are right. i 100% have the intention to take the bar exam.
my only worry is that right now im not sure i have the ability (motivation) to bunker down and study enough to pass.
moneywise, i may be able to borrow the money from family, but it will be tough. i dont have any CCs so i cant charge it to the game.
how much worse off will i be if i dont take the feb bar and practically wait one year to get my license (if i pass the july bar)? take into account by that time will be out of law school for 3.5 years, with scattered and limited work experience in the legal field.
right now im working in the family business selling insurance and doing various odd jobs. in addition, we really dislike the dc area and hope to move back to CA in the future. my gf wants to leave in a year, but realistically, we know thats not going to be possible for a while, especially since we just made the cross country move -____-

I don't mean to be a dick, but I don't understand how you say you have no motivation to take it. At all. I had no motivation to take it, I had a great job as an auditor and faced a pay cut (and work hour increase) at whatever first-year law job I took.

You, on the other hand, are scraping by with odd jobs, have a woman that you want to marry that you should think about trying to take care of, and aren't established in a career. What more motivation do you possibly need? If you don't take it, what's your long-term plan looking like?

You need to pass that shit. You should sign up for June and commit to it. Start studying ASAP.

I passed the bar almost three years after graduating. However, I made a habit of studying about five hours a month during those three years, just to try to keep fresh. Still, when I finally decided to get serious, I realized I was a little behind.

Do you have any study guides? If not, I would just get the PaulLaw outline (if that's available for DC/CA) and maybe some flashcards. Don't bother with buying it new. In March (and again in May, when the results come out), eBay and craigslist will be flooded with people selling their old study guides.

I would also strongly suggest paying for one of those on-line question banks like adaptibar. These things helped me study like a champ. You pay a rather exorbitant fee ($400-800), and get access to a bunch of Multistate questions. They will tell you how long you are taking per question, if you need to hurry up, what specific areas are you weak in, etc.... I did almost 3100 questions online. It's such a great service.

Finally, you'll be in the dark because you're detached from the law school environment. Begin to browse the websites for people studying for the bar exam like www.all4jds.com. You'll get helpful hints, commiseration, and a good idea of how others are doing.

Disclaimer - I haven't taken the DC or California Bar exams.
post #10 of 52
Someone I know has her JD but hasn't passed the TX bar (yet), she's working as a contracts manager which isn't a straight-up legal job but it pays pretty well for the time being.
post #11 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragon8 View Post

CA bar is the hardest in the nation so do not feel bad. What area of area do you want to practice?
A JD is still a good thing to have and you can get into lobbying since you're in DC. Why not take the DC bar?

DC bar exam is supposedly pretty easy.

Across the potomac, the VA bar is also easy once you've hit a certain number of practice questions and outlines, as it covers a very broad subject matter, but does not go in much depth. That is, once you outline every subject and have taken 100+ (or maybe 150+) practice exam questions (each question is a 35 minute question, I think) and gotten to a passing score on your multistates, it is an easy exam. The other VA bar exam tip is that VA is a relatively pure common law + UCC state with a little bit of equity wrinkles when it comes to property, business, commerical and domestic issues, so if you are stuck, guess what the common law rule would be and it is probably the VA rule (obviously, VA civil procedure is another beast and not part of what I am talking about).

I have a JD and bar license, but I do not work as a lawyer as I also have an engineering background. What is your undergraduate degree? You could look for a non-profit/lobbying type position related to your undergraduate degree or interests while you study for the bar exam.

I am more than willing to send you my outlines for VA bar if you go with VA. That being said, you're usually better off making your own and mine are on the verge of being out of date (although Virginia law really doesn't change that much as far as I know).
post #12 of 52
Thread Starter 
thanks flmm. i read over my post and i see what youre saying. right now is an extra miserable time for me to study for the bar (not that theres ever a perfect time). and while i did study a few hours a month the past few months, i feel woefully under-prepared.

the problem taking it in feb is time+money. i will not have such problems if i take the july bar.

right now, i feel like my chances of passing the feb bar is lower than my the july bar. but at the same time im stressing out that im foregoing 5-6mos of potential better employment opportunities were i to pass the feb bar, if that makes any sense. am i taking crazy pills??? obviously spending more time worrying about this stupid shit instead of studying...

btw, flmm, what did you do in the 3 years between law school and passing the bar if you dont mind me asking?

novaguy- thanks for your response. i have a undergraduate degree in foreign affairs from uva. the only things ive found in that vein youre recommending is greenpeace stuff on craigslist. or am i not looking in the right places?
post #13 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheessus View Post

I need some advice and really have no one to talk to about it.
I graduated in 2010 with a JD from a CA school and I do not have a license to practice law. Took the CA bar once and failed. Since then I have yet to take another bar exam and am currently live in the DC metro area (moved back here 8mos ago) where I grew up.
I had a really rough time in law school and post-law school and was never able to get any traction with regards to building towards a career. As a result I have little (practically none) experience actually working in the legal field. I have a lot of regrets about how I handled my law school experience and would've done a million things differently, possibly never having gone/dropping out.
I live with my gf who has been extremely supportive of my decisions and have literally followed me around the country. I do think I will marry her in the near future.
Currently I work part time at 3 different jobs to make ends meet (~60+hrs). One of my "jobs" is an (unpaid) internship with a solo practitioner. My GF and I make just enough to scrape by; we usually have <$20 in our checking/savings accts after the 1st of the month lol.
As a result, given my current obligations, it is very difficult for me to pay/study for the bar. Also I am always stressed out, and have little motivation to study for it because whenever I get downtime, I just want to relax.
I liked law school and want to practice law. I'm not one of those people who believes that a JD "opens a lot of doors to a wide range of jobs." I went to law school to practice law. In fact my experiences have shown the opposite. It is impossible for me to get even a paralegal/legal assistant/doc review job (since many actually require a license). I want to continue in the legal field, but cannot work for less than $25/hr, when most of those jobs are are in the unpaid-$12/hr range.
For legal professionals out there, or those who are in my boat, what advice would you give to someone trying desperately to strike a balance between the necessity of working to make ends meet and taking the bar? How much hope should I hold out to ever gaining entry into the legal field? Even if I get my license?
I cannot take out a bar loan (I've tried) and my family can only help me out so much. Right now I can pay for the Feb. exam, but think that it may be a waste of money since I haven't studied much and will probably have to pay an extra $200 late fee because it's registration process is a goddamn hassle. Having to wait until July to take the exam and Nov to get the results is a scary thought too.
I am so lost frown.gif

 

First, you are a victim of law school. Many are. And I agree that you should not have attended or at the very least dropped out. But that is not what you wanted to hear, and that is not the focus of my reply. 

 

Second, you need to stop working part-time for free. Some states have special licenses that allow you to practice under a supervising attorney during law school; I had that license during my 2nd and 3rd years of law school and tried cases. This free part-time work is not valuable "experience," and we in the field know this. Frankly, I think you are being exploited. 

 

Third, this comment requires attention, "I liked law school and want to practice law." I hated law school, and I love to practice law. The two are very dissimilar. My concern is that if you invest more time, resources, and money to obtaining a license, you will still be out of a job. If you do obtain a job, you may hate the practice of law. 

 

Fourth, this comment requires attention, "that a JD 'opens a lot of doors to a wide range of jobs'". It is my opinion that a J.D. CLOSES DOORS.  

 

Fifth, relax. Many, and I mean many, are in your position. 

 

Sixth, it may be harsh to say this, but I think you are better off pursuing the "wide open doors" path and applying to non-legal positions. You may not like the practice of law, and it is costly to obtain, maintain, and advance in a legal career with a law license. If you are barely surviving right now, you will not have enough money to obtain and keep a license. I do NOT expect things to get any easier for you if you study, prepare for, and pass the Bar. In fact, things are expected to become worse, at least financially. 

 

Your future is in your hands. One part of me thinks it cannot hurt too much to get a license, but the other part of me thinks you will never get out of this hole and only dig deeper.

post #14 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheessus View Post

thanks flmm. i read over my post and i see what youre saying. right now is an extra miserable time for me to study for the bar (not that theres ever a perfect time). and while i did study a few hours a month the past few months, i feel woefully under-prepared.
the problem taking it in feb is time+money. i will not have such problems if i take the july bar.
right now, i feel like my chances of passing the feb bar is lower than my the july bar. but at the same time im stressing out that im foregoing 5-6mos of potential better employment opportunities were i to pass the feb bar, if that makes any sense. am i taking crazy pills??? obviously spending more time worrying about this stupid shit instead of studying...
btw, flmm, what did you do in the 3 years between law school and passing the bar if you dont mind me asking?
novaguy- thanks for your response. i have a undergraduate degree in foreign affairs from uva. the only things ive found in that vein youre recommending is greenpeace stuff on craigslist. or am i not looking in the right places?

uva (virginia) is a good school, and if you have any alumni contacts, you might want to check in with them as I imagine there is a pretty good alumni network in the DC region. You also might want to check in with UVA's alumni office and see if there are any local events and go from there.

As for Feb vs. July, July pass rates are higher, but that is partially because July has a lot of first time takers. The Feb test is loaded with people who failed the prior July test.
post #15 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post

I would also strongly suggest paying for one of those on-line question banks like adaptibar. These things helped me study like a champ. You pay a rather exorbitant fee ($400-800), and get access to a bunch of Multistate questions. They will tell you how long you are taking per question, if you need to hurry up, what specific areas are you weak in, etc.... I did almost 3100 questions online. It's such a great service.
Finally, you'll be in the dark because you're detached from the law school environment. Begin to browse the websites for people studying for the bar exam like www.all4jds.com. You'll get helpful hints, commiseration, and a good idea of how others are doing.
Disclaimer - I haven't taken the DC or California Bar exams.

I used another online MBE course (name escapes me) that gauranteed you will pass the MBE section if you did enough of them.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Business, Careers & Education
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Business, Careers & Education › Naked JD - What to do?