5 Post-Law School Employment Buzzwords and What They Really Mean

By William Peacock, Esq. on November 07, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Yesterday, we blogged about law school marketing buzzwords. The buzzwords and marketing gimmicks don't end upon graduation, however, because job statistics count towards law school rankings as well.

For all the current law students out there, the ones that delusionally think that "things will be better when I graduate!," we're going to give you a quick vocabulary lesson on post-graduate employment.

Here are five terms you need to know:

1. Apprenticeship: There are two meanings for this: those who are in one of the rare states that allow you to take the bar after apprenticing (or "reading the law") for a few years with a local practitioner (these folks rarely pass the bar, and even more rarely find actual jobs), or the more common meaning: crappy Craigslist positions that promise you valuable experience as part of an unpaid or underpaid apprenticeship -- because you have to pay your dues! (Never mind paying your student loan bills.)

2. Job Corps: There's the ABA Legal Access Job Corps, which so far as we can tell, consisted of a few grants to a few Midwestern states to convince law grads to hang out their shingles in the middle of nowhere. There's also Americorps, which has an intriguing (albeit low-paying) immigration law program for the wave of parentless immigrant kids that need representation.

3. Fellowship: This could be a real fellowship, where some significant organization is paying you to advance research in a particular legal topic. But more likely, this is a school-funded fellowship, which means they hand you a few hundred bucks every month for six to nine months after you graduate so that they can check the "employed" box on their job stats. See also: school-funded positions.

4. Post-JD Incubator: A law school's graduates can't find work. The solution? Start an "incubator," where schools give you office space and teach you how to represent clients. No sarcasm here: These are actually a good idea, yet they are few and far between, likely because self-employed grads don't count towards the schools' job statistics.

5. JD Advantage Jobs: "This is my nightmare!" A "JD Advantage" job used to be what you'd give to someone who failed the bar repeatedly. These positions are comparable to paralegal, clerk, or administration jobs, but JDs are probably not nearly as useful as they are. And, JDs probably have six-figure debt.

We kid, slightly, as there are a few lucrative JD Advantage gigs, like jobs in the financial sector. But unless your daddy is Bernie Madoff (pre-prison), good luck getting one of these. More likely, you'll be doing low-level document review.

Got an annoying buzzword that needs to die now, or that 1Ls need to be warned about? Tweet us @FindLawLP.

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