Road to Recovery: For Some Law School Grads Finding Work Harder Than Passing the Bar

Forget about three-piece suits and offices with window views.

Recent law school grads in Nevada are simply happy to have a job that doesn’t involve taking breakfast orders or pushing them back home to live with mom and dad.

"I could never have imagined that it would have ever been like this," law school grad Jayme Martinez recently told Fox News.

She and many of her classmates in the Silver State are having a tough time finding jobs.

Many of those that do get hired are starting with salaries far less than what recent grads made just a few years ago.

A National Association for Law Placement survey shows national median salary for 2010 law school grads was $63,000. That’s a 13 percent drop from just the year before.

Veteran lawyers in the state say the tough job climate stems from the collapse of the real estate market which crippled Nevada’s economy.

“The lawyers in many law firms….were involved in all of the real estate transactions and closing papers and escrow companies, representing real estate agents representing mortgage companies,” lawyer Bob Massi observed. “So there's a real vertical impact here. So now these young lawyers that are coming out, they don't have a place to get a job because these firms aren't hiring the way they used to.”

For the firms that are hiring, the recent grads applying for those jobs are also at a disadvantage.

"If they have a choice of a more seasoned lawyer that they can pay a certain amount or a first year lawyer, they're probably going towards the more seasoned lawyer," attorney Paola Armenti said.

“I will tell you there are lawyers in this town that are driving cabs. There are lawyers in this town that are doing part time work for Starbucks. They're young kids, they don't have families and they love Las Vegas. But many of them are moving,” Massi said.

He also predicted that the tough times, at least in Nevada, will stick around for another couple of years.

Martinez is one of the “kids” trying to tough it out and stick around. "I've applied for anything from human resources positions at the casinos to clerk positions, secretary positions, anything,” she said. “And I'm still struggling."