Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Help Not Wanted: Message to Future Lawyers.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | August 26, 2009

Posted by Cliff Tuttle (c) 2009

The New York Times reports on August 26, 2009 what every legal blog has been saying for a long time. Biglaw doesn’t need or want any more recruits. If anything, they are still laying off lawyers at all levels for lack of work. No one is surprised that the class of 2009 is having a very hard time finding legal work in line with its expectations. It will probably be worse for the class of 2010. The article mentions a Penn Law School graduate who would prefer a big-time Philly firm, but is willing to work in (shudder) Pittsburgh.

Actually, the top law schools are only experiencing the conditions that have prevailed for the rest of us for at least three decades. Pittsburgh is a place where there has been a surfeit of lawyers for a long time. That means that you become a lawyer because you want to practice law — not because you are guaranteed a comfortable income. If you are going to be a lawyer, you had better love it. And, you had better be prepared to exercise ingenuity to make a living.

Getting the first job is only the beginning of a lifelong adventure. There have been rapid and tumultuous changes in the past three decades and they can only be expected to accelerate. There are no meal tickets. There are no sinecures.

On the other hand, lawyering can be a satisfying and fulfilling career. If you do it with dedication and devotion to your clients’ causes, you will make a difference. But you must be able to truthfully tell yourself that you still want to do it if the money is not as good as you hoped and the obstacles are greater than you feared. If you can’t honestly say that, don’t go to law school.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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