Glen Wagstaff ‘13 presented on preparing for a new and unforgiving marketplace at a Career Services event on Friday, February 3, 2017.
Wagstaff shared that law school graduates are finding it harder to find work in a changing marketplace. He explained that one of the reasons for this is that law schools don’t give students field experience. “One hour in the field is worth 10 hours in the classroom; there’s only so much you can learn in class,” he said.
Wagstaff also discussed the recent employment recession of attorneys caused by an increase in law school students and big law firms downsizing. “Big law doesn’t have as much profits because they are only handling part of the work,” Wagstaff said. He included some patterns recent graduates have seen: non-paid positions, reduced salaries, less hiring, more turnover, more competition, and polarizing markets.
Despite these new trends, Wagstaff shared that there are a lot of non-traditional opportunities for law school graduates. He characterized the three mindsets of attorneys: “grinders,” “minders,” and “finders.” The grinders do quality work, the minders manage law firms, and the finders bring in new clients. He explained that while law schools equip students to grind, marketplaces look for minders and finders, not grinders.
The solution according to Wagstaff is developing skill sets in law school. As a student, Wagstaff developed research, financial, and networking skills. “Focus on where you want to end up and what you are doing to build the skill set you need to end up where you want to end up,” he said.
Wagstaff is the managing partner of Inter Vivos, PLLC an estate planning law firm headquartered in Orem, Utah. After hanging out its shingle in March of 2014, the firm became profitable within 4 months and began expanding shortly thereafter. It now has over 25 member attorneys with licenses and offices in 8 different states. With a unique and refreshing approach to the industry and a focus on specialty planning, Wagstaff says Inter Vivos plans to continue expanding and expects to be a nationwide law firm by 2020 and the first and largest international estate planning law firm in the world.