The cry of a despondent law graduate

Hopeless 1
18 Aug 2011

Read the tale of a law graduate who has applied to almost 500 law firms and still cannot find law articles.

We regularly receive letters from despondent law students who are unable to find law articles after graduating. Sadly, whilst we try our best to assist law graduates by offering useful advice and directories on our website, we are not a placement agency and there is little we can do to help. This most recent letter from Miriam Dunn (not her real name) captures the despondency that so many law graduates feel, can you relate?

Dear Sir/Madam,

I hope this email finds you well. I have read the information on your website regarding possible career paths for law students. I know that you cannot provide me with a position or anything like that, but i would just like some general advice. I graduated last year with an LLB. I would say i am an average student, and i am currently doing my LLM. I have been applying for articles since 2009 till today (and i have applied to almost 500 law firms) all over from big to small firms. I have even gone through labour brokers. I have applied to banks as well as various law clinics and some government offices within the department of justice. I have not been able to secure any article positions. There has been some moments where i think maybe the legal profession is declining, or there just are not enough positions available to accommodate the over production of law graduates.

I do not want to be an advocate nor an academic, but at this point, what does a girl like me do? I have been re-applied to some of the firms that i was declined before. I did vac work at a big firm (note: Name of firm omitted by editor but it is one of the big five) but it seems they do not want me either. I off-course have secured many interviews, but for one reason or another i am not able to get a job (either I am not the right sex, or i do not quality under BEE, etc…). I mean lets face it, as a potential candidate attorney, we are not asking for permanent jobs. It is simply some kind of internship programme that is compulsory by law in order for us to continue with our career and without it, we are pretty much stuck. I am aware that i can also register for my PLT which i will do soon. But right now, i just feel like my degree is so theoretical, and the more i go into post-grad education, the more theoretic it becomes and less practical. Law is very much practical, and i have noticed in interviews, they don’t like people studying their masters as they consider them to be academics. They would rather take someone with some legal experience in drafting, or who has worked in conveyancing, etc. So what is the solution?

I would really appreciate your advice.

Kind regards

Miriam Dunn

Do you share the the experience of our despondent writer? Have you faced similar difficulties but found ways to overcome? Let our readers know by commenting in the space provided below.

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)