If you’re in Biglaw, chances are that not all of the first-year associates currently working at your firm are of the fresh-out-of-law-school-and-still-tan-from-post-bar-trip variety. With many firms just now welcoming back some Class of 2009 associates after a yearlong deferral, Class of 2010 associates have to wait their turn to start work in 2011 or 2012. But now that the great recession is over, surely business has picked up enough so that there is plenty of doc review and due diligence to go around for first-year associates, right? Or is work still so slow that the more senior associates have to hoard all the grunt work?
In this week’s survey, we want to know whether the first-year associates at your firm are being welcomed with open arms, or viewed as the competition…
Even in the economic heyday of a few years ago, making partner at a law firm was never a guaranteed outcome for every associate. But at large law firms today, partnership prospects look worse than ever. Whether you want to pursue that elusive partnership goal or opt out to work in-house, one thing is certain: you can’t just expect everything to fall into place; you have to take control of your career.
Last month, the Career Center’s Miami Professional Development Panel provided insider perspectives on how associates can increase their chances at making partner or landing an in-house job. Panelists included:
Adolfo Jimenez – Partner, Holland & Knight
Tiffani Lee – Partner, Holland & Knight
Albert Dotson, Jr. – Partner, Bilzin Sumberg
Jonathan Jaffe – Director & Associate Counsel, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.
We hear lots of stories about screamers — the abusive partners that all associates dread getting assignments from. But what about those partners that associates seek out — the ones who are good mentors, who give younger lawyers pointers about how to become better lawyers?
This week our ATL / Lateral Link survey asks you to take a minute to nominate the partner you most like to work for — and tell us why. Don’t worry, you won’t be asked for your name, so give your honest feedback. We’ll tally the data and in the coming weeks, we will present the top partners to work for throughout the country…
In part 1 of the results of the Associate Morale Survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, we revealed that 74% of respondents felt that associate morale was either the same or worse than last year. Though not entirely surprising, this result is troubling, given that low employee morale is not helpful to the economic recovery.
What, then, can firms do to boost struggling associate morale? The top solution, according to 67% of survey respondents, is for firms to be more open and transparent about decisions that affect associates. The next most popular option is for firms to unfreeze salaries and/or reverse pay cuts, cited by 44% of respondents. So to our Biglaw partner readers, remember that a little candor can go a long way with associates, and salary cuts and freezes are so 2008.
This week we present part two of our series on using internal networking to advance your career within your law firm. Last week we discussed networking to make partner; this week’s focus is on how to get better assignments.
As we mentioned last week, in order to succeed and be truly satisfied with your Biglaw career, you will need to do more than to simply be a great attorney. There are thousands of talented and hardworking attorneys out there who leave the world of Biglaw jaded, unhappy, and unfulfilled. Yes, Biglaw may not be the be-all and end-all for everyone, but there are many attorneys who play the Biglaw game, and play it well. By utilizing networking skills and tactics while working at a Biglaw firm, a young associate can increase his or her chances of succeeding AND being satisfied.
A key issue for the workplace, both during recession and recovery, is employee morale. In last week’s survey, we asked Biglaw associates how current associate morale at their firms compares to morale from one year ago.
For those of you who need a quick refresher on what the fall of 2009 was like, envision a time when the majority of the massive associate bloodletting had ended, but firms were still reeling from the aftermath; salary freezes and cuts were the trends du jour; and associates who were lucky enough to receive 2009 bonuses saw drastic reductions from the previous year. Could fall 2010 possibly be any more demoralizing for associates?
As soon as a young attorney gets a job offer and begins working, networking typically takes a backseat until a new job search begins. This fact is not surprising. Junior associates must maintain high billable hours, participate in countless training and CLE events, and still attend various non-billable firm events. While networking and the daily tasks of a junior associate are not mutually exclusive, networking still deserves some individual and active attention from time to time.
In order to succeed and be truly satisfied with your Biglaw career, you will need to do more than to simply be a great attorney. There are thousands of talented and hardworking attorneys out there who leave the world of Biglaw jaded, unhappy, and unfulfilled. Yes, Biglaw may not be the be-all and end-all for everyone, but there are many attorneys who play the Biglaw game and play it well. By utilizing networking skills and tactics while working at a Biglaw firm, a young associate can increase his or her chances of succeeding AND being satisfied.
There are two basic goals that are common for associates in large law firms: making partner and getting better assignments. In today’s Career Center "Expert Insights" article, we will cover networking with the goal of making partner. In next week’s article, we will cover how to network to get better assignments. We will post the complete article next week on the Associate Resources section of the Career Center (where you can find many career improvement articles).
So if your goal is to make partner, what steps should you take?
Good news: the recession is officially over– and actually has been since June 2009, according to a group of economists. Are Biglaw associates everywhere breathing a collective sigh of relief? Or does the recovering economy have little effect on associate morale?
This week, in our ATL / Lateral Link survey, we ask whether morale among associates has changed since last year, and what it is about your firm that is either bothering you or bolstering your spirits. Please take our short survey to give us your input (as always, survey responses are kept completely confidential). We’ll bring you the survey results next week.
We’ll use the information to update the ATL Career Center and bring you the results next week.
If you have information about your firm that you want to share with other career center users, please email us at [email protected].
Not too long ago, when law firms used to supersize their summer associate classes and make offers to anyone who had a pulse, callback interviews were a mere formality. Today’s post-recessionary firms are understandably more careful about hiring, and as a result,the callback interview has become a sine qua non for getting into Biglaw. We talked with an attorney recruiter, as well as attorneys currently conducting callback interviews, to bring you the top ten tips for getting an edge over the competition.
The complete article is available on the Career Center, but we’ve highlighted the first three tips after the jump.
Summer associate survey results have been out for a while. If you’re trying to decide where you’d like to be a summer associate, be sure to check out the profiles below, to see which firms scored big with its summers — and which firms could use a little improvement. Before accepting that summer associate offer, visit the Career Center for some useful insider information on the firms that interest you.
Summer associates at this firm get tons of formal training and are even assigned a “writing advisor” who will assist them with written project assignments. The 2009 summer associates who were lucky enough to land offers started as scheduled in the fall of 2009.
Even though this firm cancelled its 2010 summer program in all of its California offices, summer associates say the firm is pleasantly laid-back, and they got to attend various social events — baseball games, cooking classes, dinners. Rather than rescinding offers to its 2009 summer associates, the firm gave new associates the option of voluntarily departing with a “go-away” stipend or joining its public interest deferral program with a monthly stipend.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.