Job Searches

Think carefully. Everything after this moment will not only determine your career, but life. You can spend it in a corporate office drafting contracts and hitting on chubby paralegals before finally putting a gun in your mouth, or you can join my firm and become someone you actually like. So decide: do you want the job or not?

– Professor Annalise Keating, played by Viola Davis, after confronting a first-year law student during a scene on How to Get Away with Murder, a new legal thriller that premiered last night on ABC.

(The show, complete with absurd dialogue — like the 1L who brags about his recent summer internship with Chief Justice Roberts — and even more ridiculous plotlines — like the 1Ls who quote case law while deciding where to bury a body — is loosely based on attending Penn Law.)

Michael Allen

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Michael Allen is Managing Principal at Lateral Link, focusing exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

Every week I hear both good and bad stories about legal recruiters from both associates and partners.

From strong regional names like Alan Miles and Kay Hoppe, to larger international firms like MLA Global and Lateral Link, we all share some common practices, but also operate very differently with our clients and candidates.

There are quite a few names I won’t mention, who regularly garner the attention from partners and associates for questionable recruiter practices.

In a practice that involves highly confidential matters, it is important to chose a recruiter that is servicing your needs and not their own. I compiled a list of six telltale signs your recruiter may not be prioritizing your interests in your search for a new firm.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Six Signs That You Are Working With A Bad Recruiter”

Over the last two weeks, I gave a lot of thought to the email that I sent to Stephanie. Even though I do not regret telling her that I am looking for full-time work, I thought that I may have told her too much about my personal situation, which might have made her feel awkward. I planned to call her and let her know that things are fine and I was just having one of those days. But before I got the chance, Stephanie called me. She wanted me to schedule a time when I can meet with her and one of her partners to discuss working full-time at her firm.

There are some things you should know about Stephanie and why I hold her in such high regard. She is the managing partner of a highly respected boutique specialty firm. She is charismatic and her knowledge of the law is encyclopedic. Some of the attorneys at her firm have moved on to Biglaw, judicial clerkships, and other prestigious positions. All of her firm’s partners and associates have solid academic and professional backgrounds.

And now she is giving me a chance to work for her.

Could this be the opportunity I have been waiting for? After the jump, I will talk about what I will be doing at Stephanie’s firm and whether this could be the end of the race. Also, read onwards for information about a special federal clerkship opportunity…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The End Of The Race?”


Many people who go to Harvard Law School are going to end up in a Biglaw job at some point. The debt is too high, the money is too good, and the path into Biglaw is too easy for most HLS grads to resist, at least for a time.

Everybody has their price, and everybody deals with the reality of selling out for their price in their own way. Most people promise themselves that it’s “only temporary,” as if there is going to be some magical point in their future where making as much money as possible will not be that important. Others drown the better angels of their nature in substances or consumerism. Some people actually love their Biglaw jobs, God bless ‘em. They work hard and are fairly compensated for their efforts.

But then there are the people who rationalize their choices as somehow contributing to the the greater social good. These are the people who tout their pro bono work, as if spending five hours looking at contracts for Habitat for Humanity negates the 70 hours they spent helping real estate moguls build luxury condos. These people aren’t concerned with “doing good” as much as they’re concerned with being judged by do-gooders. You’d think that they could use some of that money and stick it in their ears and say, “La la la, I can’t hear you over the drone of my eight-cylinder HEMI iSprocketdoodle, which you can’t even afford to Google.”

When backed into a moral corner, some people admit defeat and buy an expensive wine, other people fight back with ridiculously self-serving logic. And Harvard Law School excels at self-serving logic…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Harvard Law Students Tell Themselves When The Demons Come”

We are very service-oriented here at Above the Law. Given the depressing realities of the legal job market, one service we provide is alerting our readers to job opportunities.

We recently reminded our readers about the deadlines for various federal-government honors programs (including but not limited to the DOJ Honors Program). In case you missed those deadlines, though, here’s another option for entering government service….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Job Opportunities For Graduating Law Students”

Judge Mark Fuller

* Judge Mark Fuller is back in the news, with Senator Richard Shelby leading a chorus of legislators calling for the judge to resign in light of his domestic violence arrest. [All In with Chris Hayes / MSNBC]

* Further fallout from Hobby Lobby: suborning child labor is free exercise. Hurray! [Time]

* It’s not just that female partners aren’t getting ahead of their male counterparts, they’re falling further behind. Probably not leaning in enough or whatever the latest insulting sound byte is. [The Careerist]

* After learning that Yale is going to start teaching basic financial literacy, more advice on managing student debt is cropping up. [Boston.com]

* A Nevada state judge checks out the other side of the bench, pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy rap. [Las Vegas Sun]

* Well there’s something I hadn’t thought of: classifying spankers as pedophiles for the purpose of custody hearings. [Law and More]

* This is an important life lesson kids: when you’re in a car, don’t light the driver on fire. [KTVB]

* Walking down the (very short) memory lane of Justice Scalia’s liberal moments. [Slate]

* More on Lateral.ly and its effort to replace headhunters. Basically it’s the Tinder of job hunting. [Washington Post]

* Suffolk seems to have given up on advertising to appeal to a false sense of local pride. So now a new law school has taken up that same banner…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 09.18.14″

Michael Allen

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Michael Allen is Managing Principal at Lateral Link, focusing exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

The stories about Biglaw over the past five years have been grim, but a closer inspection shows that despite a cacophony of daily doomsday stories from The New Republic, the Wisconsin Law Review, The Atlantic and other publications of varying quality, the future of Biglaw looks promising.

The size of modern-day, Am Law 100 firms allows them to downsize or expand as the market conditions dictate, but as a profession of perception, firms have to handle RIFs with care. Partners and clients might go next door if they doubt the capabilities of the firm. I have worked with partners before who moved simply because the perception of their firm’s stability was questioned by their clients….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw’s Pulse Beats Steadily, Gloom And Doom Notwithstanding”

As we have chronicled in these pages, technology is transforming all facets of the legal profession. It’s changing the way that litigators conduct discovery and try cases (and the way that judges decide those cases). It’s changing the way that transactional attorneys do deals.

And it’s changing the way that lawyers get hired. One new startup, Lateral.ly, provides an example of how technology could make a difference.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Transforming And Enhancing The Lateral Hiring Process”

Since I began my job search, I have read many books and articles on how to find a job. Most of them gave the usual tried and true advice — meet people and learn new skills — with some variation. And to prove their points, they include cool and heartwarming anecdotal stories.

But I have also been given awful job search tips. They typically revolve around a story about someone who uses a gimmick to get the attention of an employer. One thing leads to another and the applicant is hired over the many others who had better grades and work experience. The success story is passed off as advice because it worked in his particular case in very unusual conditions.

After the jump, I will discuss some of the worst job advice I have been given.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Worst. Job Search. Advice. Ever.”

At this stage of my career, I am pretty removed from the Biglaw associate recruiting scene. So I don’t know if firms have finished hiring their summer associates for summer 2015, or whether current 2Ls are evaluating offers and deciding which firm to join. While I was in Biglaw, I was very involved in supporting the recruiting department’s efforts, whether it was serving as a summer associate mentor or interviewing lateral candidates. So I know how seriously the process is taken by both Biglaw firms and the candidates.

As serious a business as recruiting is, however, it is often difficult for students and lateral candidates to distinguish between firms. Sure, enterprising law students and associates can study PPP or “prestige” charts in the American Lawyer or on Vault, or even take advantage of the vastly improved research tools for associates on sites like this one (including ATL’s law firm directory). Even more enterprising candidates will take advantage of their networks to solicit “real-world” feedback about the associate experience at firms from current and former employees of those firms. In sum, there is plenty of information, both collected and anecdotal, for young lawyers to consider when they are lucky and accomplished enough to have earned the right to choose between Biglaw firms vying for their services.

It is great that all this information is now available. But I think what younger lawyers would benefit from most is direction as to what information is worthy of focusing on, especially when making critical career decisions.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Biglaw: Advice For Job-Hunting Law Students — Ask About Alumni”

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