Young Lawyers & the Big Opportunity Staring Them in the Face by Rachel Rodgers


A Big Opportunity for Young Lawyers

Lately it seems everybody’s talking about entrepreneurship. Even President Obama’s State of the Union address was markedly focused on entrepreneurship and innovation. It makes perfect sense given the condition of the American economy and the grim reports on unemployment. Being an entrepreneur is not only about doing what you love or having certain personality traits. Today, entrepreneurship is about survival of ourselves and our country.

Entrepreneurship is the answer for recent law grads and new lawyers who are unemployed or underemployed. Sam Glover of The Lawyerist predicted last year that the law grads of 2008-2012 would become the lost generation of lawyers because their lack of experience would make new graduates more attractive hires when jobs do start to come back. And for those who don’t know, contract lawyering does not count as legal experience.

Articles like the 7-page one in the New York Times entitled “Is Law School a Losing Game?” that you’ve likely read by now are not encouraging for this so-called lost generation of lawyers. However, even that article mentioned a huge opportunity for new lawyers: “[H]uge swaths of the country lack adequate and affordable access to lawyers.” There are tons of people in this country who do not have access to legal services. They are not necessarily poor and destitute. During my clerkship, many of the litigants I encountered were working people who did not qualify for free legal services, some of them even had really great jobs and but they could not afford to pay an attorney $300/hour (an average rate in that area).

Think creatively about how you, as a new lawyer, can meet the need for low-cost legal services. Maybe it’s by starting a non-profit organization or a virtual law office. Focus on the opportunities available and explore them. The more you think about them, the more you’ll realize that you can make them happen.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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