March 2018

Legal Project Work: The Solution to the Law Graduate Unemployment Crisis

Market disruptors have become an economical sleeping giant - just ask taxi companies how they feel about ride sharing services! When it comes to the legal industry, though, innovation has had trouble gaining traction due to rigid business models and hiring practices. Now, legal project work is quickly changing how legal work is conducted. And the best part? It’s working!

Accordingly, I have some good news and then some bad news. The bad news?: law graduate unemployment is still a problem and finding a traditional legal job continues to be impractical and unsustainable for many. The good news?: legal project work is creating an environment for law graduates and emerging lawyers to obtain opportunities for legal employment, experience, and mentorship through legal project work.

The Bad News: Law Graduate Unemployment Is Still High

The American Bar Association’s 2016 Law Graduate Employment Data indicates that approximately 40% of 2016 law graduates could not obtain a traditional legal job - that is to say a job that requires passing the bar exam and to be licensed to practice law in one or more jurisdictions. Consequently, many law graduates and emerging lawyers have turned to “JD-Advantage” jobs, which are jobs that require a law degree but do not necessarily require passing a state bar exam and do not utilize all of the skills necessary for legal practice.

Moreover, although many law graduates are hired each year in traditional law firm jobs, their employment does not guarantee sustainability in the industry. Newly hired law graduates must either advance within their firm or may be forced to leave, a practice commonly referred to as “up or out.” If you do not or cannot advance in your firm, then you are “out.”

This means that there are thousands of lawyers across the country currently seeking to gain the experience and mentorship necessary to fully utilize the legal skills they earned throughout years of painstaking practice. But if you cannot get hired in or are forced out of a law firm position, what can you do to gain experience and mentorship to achieve your professional goals?

The Good News: Legal Project Work Is Creating New Opportunities

Client demands and technological disruptions are starting to provide unique opportunities for law graduates. Increasing client demands for high-quality work at cheaper costs are causing law firms, solo practitioners, and in-house legal departments to rethink business processes and methods. That’s where the 40% of law graduates without a traditional legal job step in. The thousands of attorneys who do not have a traditional legal job are completely capable of providing high-quality legal services to clients who are seeking to fill gaps in demand that the traditional legal market cannot meet.

Accordingly, services like The Lawyer Exchange are bridging the gap between law graduates seeking meaningful job opportunities and law firms, legal departments, and solo practitioners seeking to meet client expectations while still turning a valuable profit. By connecting law graduates with opportunities to gain valuable experience and mentorship across a variety of legal services, The Lawyer Exchange helps law firms, in-house legal departments, and solo practitioners find exceptionally trained and eager lawyers who provide valuable work product on a flexible budget and time schedule.

If you are one of the thousands of lawyers across the country currently seeking to gain professional experience and mentorship but are not sure what can you do to gain experience and mentorship to achieve your professional goals, the evolution of the legal market towards outsourced legal project work is a promising path towards professional advancement and sustainability.


Ready to make extra money and gain valuable legal experience?

EsquireX connects lawyers looking for work with law practices that need help on a project basis. Learn more about working on legal projects by visiting esquirex.com/project-lawyers and join today for free


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