Career Center

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…

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The proverbial brass ring.

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.

What did they have to say?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Do You Want to Make Partner? Or Go In-House?”

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…

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Go... Firm!

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.

What additional responses made the wish list?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Associate Morale Survey Results – Part 2″

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.

So what can you do to get better assignments?

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Go... Firm!

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?

Find out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Associate Morale Survey Results – Part 1″

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?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Tips on Networking Within Your Firm to Advance Your Career (Part 1)”

Go... Firm!

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].

'So, do you have any questions for ME?'

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.

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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.

More profiles, after the jump.

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