Working as a paralegal after LL.M


I completed my LL.M program 4yrs ago and I am working as a paralegal in a corporate litigation law firm. I feel I am wasting my time and I have not learned anything from there. I feel like I have a mindless job, but I need to keep working to maintain my working visa status. It was really hard to find a job when I was looking for a job, so I accepted this job offer. Now I am looking for new job again but it is still hard to find a job. I start thinking that working as paralegal may have reduced the value of my LL.M degree. But it I would be really hard to find attorney position with LL.M degree because many law firms require a JD degree.
Do you think I should change my career?
I completed my LL.M program 4yrs ago and I am working as a paralegal in a corporate litigation law firm. I feel I am wasting my time and I have not learned anything from there. I feel like I have a mindless job, but I need to keep working to maintain my working visa status. It was really hard to find a job when I was looking for a job, so I accepted this job offer. Now I am looking for new job again but it is still hard to find a job. I start thinking that working as paralegal may have reduced the value of my LL.M degree. But it I would be really hard to find attorney position with LL.M degree because many law firms require a JD degree.
Do you think I should change my career?

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trollsoft
Absolutely. Some paralegals in this country didn't even go to college (though most did, and I'm sure the paralegals who are considered your peers did). I feel bad for your visa situation, and I wish I had more concrete advice for you, but you have to do something to get out of that level of work as soon as possible. (Is this common?) Forgive me, I know little about international (or domestic) LLMs.

I suggest:
(1) Get advice and help and talk to your "career development" office of your LLM law school.
(2) Find 1 or more private "head hunters" who are professionals who do nothing but place lawyers in jobs (they work on commissions from the firms and maybe your situation would be "hard to place" as they'd say, but if I were you, I'd offer them an additional commission out of my own pocket just to get the pay increase of an associate position).
(3) I don't know how big or prestigious your current firm is, but don't be afraid to go down to a lesser known, smaller firm if it will allow you to change your job title from paralegal to associate. (Then once you're in the job of lawyer you will have an easier time moving to a more high level lawyer job).

Good luck.
Absolutely. Some paralegals in this country didn't even go to college (though most did, and I'm sure the paralegals who are considered your peers did). I feel bad for your visa situation, and I wish I had more concrete advice for you, but you have to do something to get out of that level of work as soon as possible. (Is this common?) Forgive me, I know little about international (or domestic) LLMs.

I suggest:
(1) Get advice and help and talk to your "career development" office of your LLM law school.
(2) Find 1 or more private "head hunters" who are professionals who do nothing but place lawyers in jobs (they work on commissions from the firms and maybe your situation would be "hard to place" as they'd say, but if I were you, I'd offer them an additional commission out of my own pocket just to get the pay increase of an associate position).
(3) I don't know how big or prestigious your current firm is, but don't be afraid to go down to a lesser known, smaller firm if it will allow you to change your job title from paralegal to associate. (Then once you're in the job of lawyer you will have an easier time moving to a more high level lawyer job).

Good luck.
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Sorry, perhaps it is something that is not correct to ask, but: how much it is earning a paralegal in a law firm???
Sorry, perhaps it is something that is not correct to ask, but: how much it is earning a paralegal in a law firm???
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trollsoft
I don't know how much OP makes, but in general terms that's a question with a big range as an answer. Depends on the firm, and more importantly the job. The job "paralegal" is used to describe anything from a glorified secretary to someone who's virtually doing the work of a first/second year associate. Our firm's paralegals make between $45,000 and $115,000 depending on responsibilities, skills, and experience (by way of reference, first year associates make $160,000).
I don't know how much OP makes, but in general terms that's a question with a big range as an answer. Depends on the firm, and more importantly the job. The job "paralegal" is used to describe anything from a glorified secretary to someone who's virtually doing the work of a first/second year associate. Our firm's paralegals make between $45,000 and $115,000 depending on responsibilities, skills, and experience (by way of reference, first year associates make $160,000).
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ACHIE
lupin,
that's not a good position to be in regarding your LLM status. but again desperate times call for desperate measures. but i think it's time to move on. talk to the partners/hiring managers of your firm and remind them of your qualifications and that you are unhappy learning nothing as a paralegal. are you a member of the bar in that state? that might raise your bargaining power. but is it time to move up. be bold and talk to the heads of that firm!
lupin,
that's not a good position to be in regarding your LLM status. but again desperate times call for desperate measures. but i think it's time to move on. talk to the partners/hiring managers of your firm and remind them of your qualifications and that you are unhappy learning nothing as a paralegal. are you a member of the bar in that state? that might raise your bargaining power. but is it time to move up. be bold and talk to the heads of that firm!
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Thank you so much for all of your advice.
I am making 32K and I talked with some legal recruiters and most of them said that I need a green card! They also told me that it is really hard to find an attorney position with LLM degree. Many law firms require JD degree. I took NY bar exam several times but I did not pass the exam so, I stop taking the bar because it wass really hard for me to study after work. I am thinking that I should focus on green card first, then focus on studying for the bar exam full time, but I really feel miserable working as paralegal..
All what I am doing is updating litigation file and library books, filing and serving documents, writing letters etc..
Thank you so much for all of your advice.
I am making 32K and I talked with some legal recruiters and most of them said that I need a green card! They also told me that it is really hard to find an attorney position with LLM degree. Many law firms require JD degree. I took NY bar exam several times but I did not pass the exam so, I stop taking the bar because it wass really hard for me to study after work. I am thinking that I should focus on green card first, then focus on studying for the bar exam full time, but I really feel miserable working as paralegal..
All what I am doing is updating litigation file and library books, filing and serving documents, writing letters etc..
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trollsoft
Well, having a green card may be a major factor, but if I were in your shoes I would take the opposite route. Lack of a green card may be a large negative factor, but no bar admission is a virtual deal breaker. Most firms are not comfortable hiring someone who is not licensed (unless they're going to get licensed in the next month or two). With a track record of failing the bar I would focus on passing it. It's hard to get a job as an attorney when you can't practice law.
Well, having a green card may be a major factor, but if I were in your shoes I would take the opposite route. Lack of a green card may be a large negative factor, but no bar admission is a virtual deal breaker. Most firms are not comfortable hiring someone who is not licensed (unless they're going to get licensed in the next month or two). With a track record of failing the bar I would focus on passing it. It's hard to get a job as an attorney when you can't practice law.
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bella
I'd say, maybe it's not the position of a paralegal makes you unhappy, but the money it offerers? How about looking for the same position but target a really-really "shark" firm? That way you'll have much more money and some kind of a networking, which might be very useful in the end of the day. Also, while working for a bigger firm, study for the LSAT and try to get into a Law school for a JD (even if it's a simple school). As far as I know, school often will be willing to count some of your LLM credits towards the JD degree. Best of luck!
I'd say, maybe it's not the position of a paralegal makes you unhappy, but the money it offerers? How about looking for the same position but target a really-really "shark" firm? That way you'll have much more money and some kind of a networking, which might be very useful in the end of the day. Also, while working for a bigger firm, study for the LSAT and try to get into a Law school for a JD (even if it's a simple school). As far as I know, school often will be willing to count some of your LLM credits towards the JD degree. Best of luck!
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ACHIE
bella is right as is troll. it's first important to focus on getting a bar membership. if i were you I would take a study leave from work for say 3 months and really study for the NY bar again. assuming you are not responsible for your own bills in the US. REALLY focus on barbri/past questions and see what the problem is. you have identified one of them as lack of time to study. Start from there. what school was the LLM from? can their career office not try to help w/ some advice too?
bella is right as is troll. it's first important to focus on getting a bar membership. if i were you I would take a study leave from work for say 3 months and really study for the NY bar again. assuming you are not responsible for your own bills in the US. REALLY focus on barbri/past questions and see what the problem is. you have identified one of them as lack of time to study. Start from there. what school was the LLM from? can their career office not try to help w/ some advice too?
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I graduated from University of Florida. I think your advice is right. i sould focus on NY bar exam first.
I wish I could take 3month unpaid leave, but I think they won't let me take such a long leave. So, I am going to study for the exam from next week and I know it will be hard for me to study after work but I have no choice..
I graduated from University of Florida. I think your advice is right. i sould focus on NY bar exam first.
I wish I could take 3month unpaid leave, but I think they won't let me take such a long leave. So, I am going to study for the exam from next week and I know it will be hard for me to study after work but I have no choice..


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aolawal
Wow, I think you might want to either take the bar exam in the states tha would let you or start applying to law schools, you might be able to get credit for the first year courses.
Wow, I think you might want to either take the bar exam in the states tha would let you or start applying to law schools, you might be able to get credit for the first year courses.
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ACHIE
Lupin this is rather personal: Did you have some LLM student loans and what are you doing about them in the meantime? I was just thinking that a JD i costly and you wouldnt wanna add to the loans if you are still stuck with paying the LLM loans.
Lupin this is rather personal: Did you have some LLM student loans and what are you doing about them in the meantime? I was just thinking that a JD i costly and you wouldnt wanna add to the loans if you are still stuck with paying the LLM loans.
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ACHIE
on a different note, did u enrol for the barbri? what materials do you have? I have some very good notes and if u are interested you can supply an email address. good luck.
on a different note, did u enrol for the barbri? what materials do you have? I have some very good notes and if u are interested you can supply an email address. good luck.
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hannenyh
I am not sure passing the bar will help you land a job. You should probably consider getting your JD if you really want to live and work in the US. I think most people get job offers contingent upon passing the bar, so if you have no job offers at all now, then I doubt you get many after you pass the bar. I might be wrong however. Your pay seem to be terrible. Maybe try a different firm if you don't want to get a JD or take the bar.
I am not sure passing the bar will help you land a job. You should probably consider getting your JD if you really want to live and work in the US. I think most people get job offers contingent upon passing the bar, so if you have no job offers at all now, then I doubt you get many after you pass the bar. I might be wrong however. Your pay seem to be terrible. Maybe try a different firm if you don't want to get a JD or take the bar.
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I would like to take a JD course. I have heard that my LLM credit will count if I take JD from the same law school, but financially it will not be easy for me. I will take the February bar exam. I hope that I will enough time for preparing for the exam if I start now. Anyway, I need to take some action to change my life.
I feel that they are taking advantage of me. I think I can negotiate with the partners about my promotion or I think I could find a better job if I pass the bar exam.
I would like to take a JD course. I have heard that my LLM credit will count if I take JD from the same law school, but financially it will not be easy for me. I will take the February bar exam. I hope that I will enough time for preparing for the exam if I start now. Anyway, I need to take some action to change my life.
I feel that they are taking advantage of me. I think I can negotiate with the partners about my promotion or I think I could find a better job if I pass the bar exam.

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While I was looking for a job in the U.S., I realized that it is really hard to find a new job if I have no experience in the legal field.
I am working in the commercial litigation law firm, but I started sending resume to Immigration and IP law firm because I thought they need someone who is bilungual. I think commercial litigation law firm doesnot need bilingual or foreigner, but it is hard to find a job in the immigaration or IP law firm unless i have experience in the field.
While I was looking for a job in the U.S., I realized that it is really hard to find a new job if I have no experience in the legal field.
I am working in the commercial litigation law firm, but I started sending resume to Immigration and IP law firm because I thought they need someone who is bilungual. I think commercial litigation law firm doesnot need bilingual or foreigner, but it is hard to find a job in the immigaration or IP law firm unless i have experience in the field.
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gkh_2005
Your situation looks very scary ............ Can I ask you from which country are you from ? R U registered in your home country as an Attorney ?

I underststand, it is mean of your employers to take undue advantage of your situation.

I wish you all the very best in getting an excellent job. Don't loose hope and keep trying. You will win in the end.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Your situation looks very scary ............ Can I ask you from which country are you from ? R U registered in your home country as an Attorney ?

I underststand, it is mean of your employers to take undue advantage of your situation.

I wish you all the very best in getting an excellent job. Don't loose hope and keep trying. You will win in the end.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Why do you think that Commercial Law does not need bilingual lawyers, and, IP or another does?
What about environment law?

Iam not from US, and i am preparing my documents to apply for Corporate LLM, I thought it is a good field, because there is a lot of demand for it . . am i wrong?
Is there another field as IP or environmen, to get a good job with good salary???
Why do you think that Commercial Law does not need bilingual lawyers, and, IP or another does?
What about environment law?

Iam not from US, and i am preparing my documents to apply for Corporate LLM, I thought it is a good field, because there is a lot of demand for it . . am i wrong?
Is there another field as IP or environmen, to get a good job with good salary???
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by way of reference, first year associates make $160,000


Cravath is now paying $205,000 (including bonus) to its first year associates: http://www.lawyrs.net/news
<blockquote>by way of reference, first year associates make $160,000</blockquote>

Cravath is now paying $205,000 (including bonus) to its first year associates: http://www.lawyrs.net/news
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