Career Center

It’s that time of year again when associates will cash in their bonus checks and start mentally and/or physically packing their bags for their next move. Some are looking to lateral to another Biglaw firm, while others want to make a more dramatic change by going in-house, downshifting to a smaller firm or a government job, or moving to another city.

With lateral hiring picking up in various areas, there’s a decent chance that all the hard work you put into the job-hunting process will pay off with a job offer. But before you rush into accepting an offer, the experienced recruiters at Lateral Link have come up with the top three factors to consider when deciding whether a new job is right for you….

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In the 19th century, Americans immigrated to Texas to escape debt incurred during the Panic of 1819, leaving “Gone To Texas” or “GTT” on their doors. In the 21st century, lawyers are immigrating to Texas for much different reasons. Or are they?

Why move to Texas? In honor of Texas Independence Day, held every March 2, Lateral Link Director Sara Gail, a third-generation Texan, explains why you should consider the Texas legal market….

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Although your office may have more Asians than the NBA, it may be far off from being a truly diverse workplace. But as long as your firm can count some minorities on its attorney roster, who really cares about increasing diversity anyway?

Clients, for one. As companies become more diverse, they expect their outside counsel to reflect a similar diversity. A firm that can’t demonstrate a real commitment to boosting its diversity is in danger of getting dumped or passed over by clients. In the long run, that may translate into no work, or even no job, for you. So how can you (minority or not) actively do your part to encourage diversity in your workplace? Here are the Career Center’s top three tips:

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In the age of texts, tweets, and emails, people want their information brief, fast, and in 100 characters or less. With such constraints, many law firm lawyers feel overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to elicit business without sounding like a cattle auctioneer.

While we are competing with thousands of sound bites of information on a daily basis, an effective tool is available to cut through this web of data overload — the elevator pitch. Below, we highlight five easy tips lawyers can follow to execute an effective elevator pitch….

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... to take a survey.

The ATL School and Firm Insiders Survey continues to roll along at a nice clip: we expect our 3,000th respondent any minute now. While we’re pleased with this response, of course we encourage all of you who haven’t yet to take 3-5 minutes and head over here to take our absolutely confidential survey. Thanks in advance.

Last week, we shared a few broad trends we’re seeing, and today, we’ll get a little more specific and name some names.

Among other things, the survey asks law students for their perceptions of a select group of firms as potential employers. In our analysis, we’ll look at which firms are considered the most (and least) attractive by law students. We’ll also consider how these perceptions jibe with what lawyers at these firms are telling us….

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If you’ve ever been miserable at your job, you’re in good company. But a little job misery doesn’t necessarily mean that you should make a beeline for the door. Many people have compelling reasons to stay put.

So how do you know when it’s time to go? The Career Center, brought to you by Lateral Link, gives you some of the tell-tale signs that it’s time to move on.

1. Your job makes you physically ill. We’re not talking about an occasional headache, or a few sleepless nights in order to meet a critical deadline. Developing chronic conditions like migraines, stomach pains, sleep issues, depression, or anxiety due to work may indicate a serious problem for which you should see a doctor. If your health issues are caused by stressors that you can’t remove from your job, like the billable hour requirement, clients’ expectations, or partnership prospects, it’s probably time to change jobs or consider downshifting to a less demanding environment. No job is worth making yourself sick over — or worse, dying over….

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Unless you work for Kirkland, Cahill, Irell or Boies Schiller, who all shattered the 2011 Cravath bonus scale, you may be feeling a little underwhelmed with your year-end bonus.

But don’t just go blowing it all away on a whim –- especially since that spring bonus check isn’t in the mail yet. Here are some ideas from the Career Center, brought to you by Lateral Link, on how to spend your bonus money wisely…

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Maintaining a good work-life balance can, in some cases, determine your longevity at your current job. Whether you’re a second year or a partner, the fact is everyone needs to balance work and life. This also means both parents and non-parents can take note of some of the tips we have in mind for you. If you plan to make a career out of Biglaw, it’s important to stay happy, healthy, and optimistic.

Speaking of optimism, it’s important to have a positive outlook, even when you might have to work around the clock on a big case. So what can you do to make sure you keep your head above water, and still manage to be on top of your game at work?

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Last Thursday, we opened our ATL Firm & School Insiders Survey and so far, so good. We’ve heard from students at nearly 100 law schools and lawyers at about 200 firms. As previously noted, this survey is one of the first data-gathering tools we’ll be using to create a new, expanded ATL Career Center. While we’re pleased with this initial response, of course we encourage all of you who haven’t yet to take 3-5 minutes and head over here to take our absolutely confidential survey. Thanks in advance.

To all non-law firm attorneys: thanks for your insight regarding your law school alma maters. Please know that we are looking forward to asking about your professional experiences soon, whether they be in government, non-profit, in-house, academia or elsewhere.

As our data accumulates, we look forward to slicing and dicing it in myriad ways, in order to find patterns of interest to our readership, but more importantly, for useful insights for anyone researching legal education and careers.

After the jump, we share a handful of early trends in the survey data:

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Whether you’ve been out of school one year or five, the art of time maintenance is one you shouldn’t ignore. Just like the balance between your personal and professional life should be important to you, you should also work to keep your law firm schedule and work habits as balanced as possible.

Following the pace of a law firm, its partners, and its clients as a former law student might be difficult at first, but time will show you what you’re made of, as hard work and perseverance pays off if you want to make it in the world of Biglaw….

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