Attorneys who do not really have prestigious jobs out of school how do you deal with a shame?

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I think the definition of prestigious job may vary. Lawyers may think prestigious is big law, but non-lawyers aren’t going to know wtf a Kirkland or Sidley are, so they won’t care. I am an AAG, which isn’t the least bit glamorous but when I tell people what I do, they think it’s super fancy because Assistant Attorney General sounds cooler to the public than big law Associate. If we were instead introducing ourselves based on salaries, that would be flipped. This is all relative. Just do what you like and don’t worry about the rest. Most people are going to forget and not think about you again.

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^this is soo true. I'm an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. I love my job soo freaking much. Nonlawyers think my title is super prestigious and can't name the four biggest firms in town.

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Assuming you want to be practicing but didn't find the role you wanted out the gate: Kick ass at what you ARE doing, hustle for what you WANT to be doing (in my county, you could sign up to volunteer for housing arbitration panels, name change representation, and other pro bono court experiences; you should be joining and actively participating in bar associations), and reframe your situation as your future back story.

I recently pivoted my career by stepping "down" from a small firm associate role (where I often got condescending attitudes from snobby opposing counsel at bigger firms) to a big law staff attorney position in the area I wanted to practice in. I did the same work as the mid-sr level associates for less than half the pay of a first year, and was treated by the firm as a whole (not the people I worked with directly) as a second class lawyer in a number of small and bigger ways. After 2 years, used that job to launch into my current role where I'm finally doing what I wanted to be doing in the first place. I don't necessarily recommend that specific path, but the point is it took me 7 years to get here, but I did it (5 at the first firm because I had a trial scheduled for years and didn't want to quit until I got that experience).

If you don't actually want to practice, just have shame over other people's reactions to what you do for a living: fuck em. And maybe tell them about how you're actually able to have time for hobbies and vacations. I love what I do but I would do terrible things to have my 120 hour a month billable requirement again....

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Your identity and self-worth is not tied to your job or career, for better or for worse. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. As you get older in your career, “prestige” becomes nonexistent. At the end of the day, as long as you are putting food on the table, that’s what matters. Only lawyers obsess over where they work. If you want to make more money, you can always be on the look out for other types of job roles.

Also, don’t ever feel that you have to talk up your job to impress anyone or be self deprecating in fear of rejection.

likeuplifting

The wealthiest person I know owns a local furniture store and has no professional degree. The wealthiest lawyer I know has their own firm and does personal injury. You have to embrace your journey and he proud that of who you are as a person and not think your job title changes anything!

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Unpopular opinion- many attorneys who start off with “prestigious jobs” (aka biglaw) out of school barely develop real skills by the time they burn out and exit biglaw. Conversely many who start off at unknown or less prestigious firms/govt develop real skills and in the long run are often times more successful and or do better in biglaw than those who started there

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When you use the term, “many” it is quantifying and that presents false information. Data/stats that shows big law compensation is higher and attorneys that work in big law receive more job opportunities than non-big law attorneys. That’s objective. It doesn’t mean that non-big law attorneys can’t have a happy successful career and life.

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No shame in honest work - ever.

likeuplifting

By taking solace in the fact that many, many attorneys with “prestigious” jobs are utterly and completely miserable professionally.

likehelpful

😂

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Stop caring 😂

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I agree with the comments here. Non lawyers won’t care that you didn’t work at a Sidley nor would they even know what Sidley or Skadden is (unless they are big Obama fans haha). But seriously, enjoy your life. This obsession we have with prestige is toxic

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I should be clear this is about me not other people

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Just work and get a different job in 2 years.

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How do you?

Just curious- is the lexisnexis gig full-time? Or can you get your work done in less than 40 hrs.? I've heard those editing positions pay on the low end but the tradeoff is that the work is low stress with very reasonable deadlines.

Now this is comedy 😂

What a diss

I understand - I felt like I had the weight of my own and other people's expectations on my shoulders. Linkedin doesn't help either, now it's so easy for people to compare themselves to others than before the platform existed. My first temp role out of law school was editing for BNA. On top of that, it took me forever to pass the bar. These things made me feel bad because I was a really good student in law school so I was tempted to feel like a failure. But success is really relative. Once I stopped comparing myself to others and began to be thankful and appreciate the positive aspects I had, I started to feel better and grateul for what I have achieved. Now, I've passed the bar and make a good amount in role that is not much work but flexible. The great thing is you can always get another role after some time - don't give up.

Who cares? I went from what many consider a “prestigious” job at a highly ranked firm to what many consider much less prestigious — a legal aid job — after just over a year at the firm. But that was a miserable year for me and now I’m happy with what I do. So whether my peers from law school or elsewhere in the legal community think I made a bad decision or whatever doesn’t really matter to me.

I think it depends on your definition of prestigious or success.

Ummm. What shame? Lol

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