Career Center

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Is It Time to Go? Four Signs You Aren’t Where You Should Be”

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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...to take a survey

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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uncle sam

...to take a survey

Later this year, Above the Law will be launching a new, expanded Career Center. The new Career Center will be a resource for students and lawyers at all stages of their careers, and in all areas of legal practice (i.e., not just Biglaw). But we can be sure that news and insight into life at firms and schools will continue to be ATL’s bread and butter. With that in mind, today we open up the ATL School & Firm Insider Survey.

I assume a common reaction will be, “What with — among others — Vault, Chambers, U.S. News, and Am Law, why the hell do we need yet another employer/school survey?” Fair enough. And yes, all of the existing surveys have their merits. All of them produce useful content for students and potential laterals.

We do believe, however, that when it comes to information, the more the merrier. Moreover, the ATL survey is distinctive in some fundamental ways, and we’re going to justify its existence….

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This week, Lateral Link Director Tricia McGrath shares the inside scoop on what fifth years need to do to make sure they stay on track to become partner, and avoid the pitfalls that come with being passed over continually.

Law firm economics changed substantially over the past decade. Law firms now run like “businesses,” in corporate America parlance. In the last few years, many associates at top firms who thought that they were “on track” for partnership were unexpectedly passed over. Unfortunately, market conditions suggest that many more will be passed over in future years.

As a recruiter, I frequently speak with senior associates who were on the wrong side of partnership decisions, and as a result, realized the “out” side of the firm’s “up-and-out” policy. Many of these overlooked associates are now wondering how the train went off the track so quickly. Don’t the years of solid billables and strong reviews account for anything? For most of these associates, their best-case scenarios are a new position at another Biglaw firm with a three-year partner look — often going in to their new firm as a fifth or sixth year — or an in-house position at significantly less compensation (in most cases). Often, neither of these options is particularly attractive for the candidate.

How can you protect yourself from becoming a senior associate who has been passed over, has no business, and has limited job prospects?

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Lateral Link Director Scott Hodes gives his assessment on one of the nation’s hottest lateral markets in recent years.

Florida has continued to represent one of the most active states in the country in terms of hiring. 2011 saw a resurgence of positions in almost all areas, which is good news for 2012 and beyond.

Litigation positions represented an overwhelmingly large portion of the lateral market, with corporate positions making up the next largest group of lateral opportunities….

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This week, Lateral Link Director Scott Hodes gives us some insight into the increase in lateral hirings in the Empire State of the South.

Atlanta has emerged as one of the best lateral associate markets in the country. While 2009 was slow as in most markets, 2010 signaled a comeback, and 2011 confirmed the upward trend.

Corporate and litigation positions represented the largest amount of lateral openings, which is fairly typical in large markets. Corporate positions seemed to peak in the second and third quarters, while litigation was fairly steady throughout the year. There was also a huge boom in intellectual property positions, especially in the last three quarters, followed not too far behind by labor and employment, which remained steady throughout 2011….

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As mentioned previously, these State of the Market posts by Lateral Link, as compiled by Director Gary Cohen, will focus on one of the country’s largest states — Texas.

The strongest market in Texas is Houston, with some of the strongest candidates being those with corporate, capital markets, or finance experience. A close second is Dallas, and a distant third in terms of strong markets in the Lone Star State is Austin….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: State of the Market – Texas (Part 3)”

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