The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
I’ll confess I was a little surprised when I read the Long Island Business News story, “Out-of-work lawyers try to be paralegals, secretaries” because I just blogged about the recent Suffolk Law grads that complained about receiving an ad for an available paralegal position on their career services listserv. From the reaction, you’d think they’d been offered the opportunity to put their law degrees to work swabbing floors at a fast food restaurant.
Maybe those law students haven’t been hungry long enough.
With the recession spurring legal layoffs across the country – 5,190 lawyers at major law firms have been laid off since Jan. 1, 2008, according to Lawshucks.com, a Web site that tracks legal layoffs – out-of-work attorneys are willing to work in the legal industry as paralegals, law librarians and legal secretaries.
However, they’re not getting hired.
And they’re not getting hired, not because they’re over-educated, but because they lack the specialized training to work in paralegal, legal assistant and law librarian jobs. Plus, employers are reluctant to hire someone that will likely quit as soon as a position as a lawyer becomes available.
So maybe paralegals don’t have to watch their backs so closely. But the fact that some law firms are receiving a significant number of resumes from unemployed lawyers for administrative assistant positions is indicative of today’s extremely competitive job market. Add to that the fact that experienced unemployed paralegals are applying for these entry level positions as well, and that means that every applicant for a paralegal job has to be at the top of his or her job search game.