A friend of ATL brings us a surprising report from a recruitment event at Northwestern University School of Law on Wednesday night. Despite the rough economic times, rampant layoffs, rescinded job offers, and general end of the legal employment world as we know it, many students decided to skip out on the chance to mingle with recruiters from Biglaw, the DOJ, and the SEC. Says our source from a New York Biglaw firm:
Went to “meet the employers night” at northwestern last night — there was practically no turnout.
The event was aimed at 1Ls, but open to all students. One recruiter complained that “it was f***ing full of LLMs and no one else.”
There were lots of firms there (even Latham), but everyone was shocked at how few students showed up. We talked to maybe 5 the whole night (2 hours). I had a bunch of friends there from other firms — they all had the same reaction — expecting tons of students, shocked at how few showed up…. All said turnout was noticeably lower than in previous years.
Hey Northwestern kids, what’s up with that?
The firm folks speculated as to the reason for the low turnout, and here are the theories they came up with:
1) they’re resigned to not getting jobs
2) they’re more worried than usual about saying something stupid
3) they’re more worried than usual about studying
Northwestern’s head of placement was perplexed, says our source. The firm representatives were perplexed. We are perplexed. What’s the explanation here?
“Northwestern kids are surprisingly confident in their ability to secure jobs this fall,” hypothesized our source, a bemused, but proud, Northwestern alum.
So, you know how we at Above the Law love to bring you something a little bit later in the day for our west coast and late night readers? I bring this up lest you think I have masturbatory ulterior motives for the timing of this post.
So, this lady is apparently a law student somewhere in Miami:
Click below the fold for the rest of this story. (Arguably not safe for work, children, Jesus, reasonable people, Princess Leia, or PETA).
Earlier this month, duty called us to a midtown Manhattan bar to cover a Pink Slip Party for our sister site, Dealbreaker. Geared toward those laid off from Wall Street, the “party” was a depressing scene meant to bring job-seekers together with potential employers. There were more recruiters than potential employers around, though, and there were lines of people in suits waiting to sit at booths to go over their resumes with the recruiters.
Job seekers are similarly disadvantaged in the legal market, thanks to continuing layoffs. One unemployed lawyer is trying a novel new approach. He wants to turn the headhunter payment arrangement inside out, and pay a recruiter to find a job for him. From his Craigslist ad:
This economy sucks. It probably sucks for recruiters too! Therefore I want to make life a little more interesting. This may not be a huge amount of money, but if you’re already on commission it’s more than usual I imagine.. For any recruiter that helps me a permanent position as an associate attorney in relevant areas (defined below) I will pay the following immediately:
$60,000- $69,999 per annum I will pay you $3,000
$70,000 – $90,000 per annum I will pay you $4,000
$100,000 + per annum I will pay you $5,000
I am also looking for contract work in the short term. I will pay $300 for anything which is supposed to last more than a month.
This seems to make sense. Sometimes job seekers are advised to avoid working with a recruiter because it makes them more expensive, since the employer has to pay the recruiter a fee on top of the new hire’s salary. If the new hire foots the recruitment bill, the game changes.
Some people don’t like this idea. The Craigslist poster, who asked to remain anonymous, has had some angry responses, after the jump.
I’ve just started hearing of major law firms rescinding or “indefinitely deferring” employment offers to this year’s 3Ls. At our school, this is disproportionately hurting our top students — students who clerked for major firms last summer, received what they thought was a job offer, did not participate last fall or early this spring in the job-search process under the rational assumption that they already had a job, and only now are being informed that that job does not exist. The information I’m hearing is that these students are not being given a stipend, a “severance” package, or anything else to help tide them over — they’re just being told “see ya later.”
We know things are bad for 2Ls. We know things are terrible for 3Ls without offers. We know clerks are chaining themselves to their desks.
But if you are a 3L who had an offer rescinded, you’ve essentially been fired before you started working. You’ll have to compete with all the other laid off attorneys, yet you’ll have zero Biglaw work experience.
We’re asking 3Ls to step forward and tell us which firms are rescinding offers. We’ll try to collect your tips, and figure out just how many firms are rescinding offers.
While the bad news continues to rain down on practicing attorneys, law students are the ones sitting there with a “deer in cataclysmic meteor event” look on their faces.
It’s been a while since we gave law students a chance to vent their frustrations, so here we go.
Today, NALP is out with actual statistics showing how 2Ls are seeing their jobs disappear in a pyroclastic flow. From a synopsis in the National Law Journal:
The median number of offers to 2Ls for summer associate positions at firms of all sizes fell from 15 in the fall of 2007 to 10 in the fall of 2008. The decline was even steeper at firms with 700 or more attorneys, where the median number of summer associate offers fell from 30 in 2007 to 18.5 in 2008. Additionally, fewer callback interviews yielded summer associate offers in 2008. In recent years, about 60% of callback interviews led to summer associate offers. Last fall, however, only 47% of callback interviews led to offers.
And after scrolling through the 20-page NALP report, we also noticed the shortening of summer programs:
Summer programs were typically 10 to 12 weeks long, regardless of firm size. Over three-quarters of offices reported summer programs of either 10, 11, or 12 weeks, although the lengths reported ranged from 6 to 19 weeks. For the vast majority of offices (80%), the 2008 summer program length was the same as in 2007. About 11% reported that their program was one or two weeks shorter compared with 2007; however, about 5% reported that their summer program was one or two weeks longer.
More numbers, statistics, and reasons to trade in your J.D. for a certificate of attendance in refrigerator repair, after the jump.
When the economy was better, we had a career alternatives for lawyers series, for those in Biglaw looking to do something new. Given the layoffs and sluggish law firm hiring these days, we’re starting a new series: “Can’t find work?” We’ll offer “options” for those shut out — or forced out — of Biglaw.
On Tuesday, we suggested an “option” for recent law grads unable to find work: start your own firm. Two University of Missouri grads were unable to find work and hung out their own shingle in Kansas City. ATL readers lent their support to the venture by spell-checking the hell out of the Buckley & Hutchings website.
Today, we have a new “option” for those looking for work. Offer up your legal services for free!
A local legal aid provider is seeking unemployed lawyers as volunteers to staff its telephone hotline for low-income families in need of legal advice…
The volunteers must be licensed Illinois lawyers and are asked to work on the CARPLS hotline for at least four hours each week on a morning or afternoon shift. Schwartz said CARPLS officials hope that between 40 and 50 out-of-work lawyers will volunteer for the new program. The new volunteers will supplement the work of 32 paid staff lawyers, Schwartz said.
CARPLS officials posted a job description for the new program on craigslist and other online sites Thursday afternoon, Schwartz said. By Friday morning, there were about 35 responses, he added. The first response was from a lawyer who was offended because she was being asked to work for free, according to Schwartz. The rest of the responses came from lawyers interested in participating in the program, he added.
You may not get paid in cash, but you will get basic training in family, landlord-tenant and consumer law. Press release from CARPLS, after the jump.
So, if you’re twiddling your thumbs these days, think about calling up your local legal aid office and putting some of their attorneys out of work by volunteering your time.
The number of attorneys looking for jobs continues to grow each month. And we can’t help running into them in New York, ground zero for attorney layoffs. We asked one Thacher refugee whether he had thought about banding together with other jobless legal eagles to start their own venture. “Too junior, not interested,” he replied.
Well, that’s not stopping two recent law grads from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Kansas City Star reports that Sarah Buckley and Alexandra Hutchings were unable to find work after passing the Missouri bar exam last year, so they’ve started their own firm: Buckley & Hutchings, LLC:
The question remains, though, whether they are an exception or — as more law school grads find a serious shortage of law firm jobs — the start of a trend.
Are these bright-eyed, bushy-tailed UMKC grads blazing a novel trail? More after the jump.
[Ed. note: This is a cross-post from one of our sister sites, DealBreaker. We linked to it in passing last week, but we thought we'd mention it again in case people missed it. If you're a transactional lawyer with a background in finance or accounting -- perhaps you worked on Wall Street or as an accountant before going to law school -- these opportunities may interest you.]
Back in October, we mentioned we were looking for an additional writer (or writers) for DealBreaker. In case you were wondering, we’ve not yet filled the position. Because Bess and Equity Private have been doing such an excellent job — January was a record month for DealBreaker in terms of traffic — we haven’t felt much pressure on this front. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But we are once again thinking of hiring more talent, given how the site is thriving (and how many Wall Streeters might be looking for new jobs right now). Would you be interested (or would you know anyone who might be)?
This is a full-time position, with standard benefits — health insurance, a 401(k), abuse from anonymous commenters. If you’re looking to transition from Wall Street to writing, this is an excellent opportunity.
If you’d like to apply for this position, please email us at jobs at dealbreaker dot com (subject line: “DealBreaker Writer Application”). Please describe yourself and your background, what you have to offer DealBreaker, and your vision for the site. Feel free to include a résumé, a writing sample, a link to your own blog (if you have one), or any other information relevant to evaluation of your application.
Separately, we’re thinking about hiring a part-time writer or writers to cover the world of accounting, with a focus on the Big Four. If this opportunity interests you, please email us also at jobs at dealbreaker dot com (but with this subject line: “Accounting Writer Application”).
Thanks for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you.
I have a radical idea. Let’s move the start date of the 2009 on-campus interview programs from the middle of August 2009 all the way up to the end of August 2006. That way there will be jobs for everybody! Somebody get Daniel Faraday and “magic” Desmond on the phone.
Michigan Law School is the latest school to try to give their students a competitive edge along the fourth dimension:
The 2009 Early Interview Week will be from Tuesday, August 18 through Friday, August 21. We will have orientation for it and a program on callbacks on Monday, August 17. We regret that this early schedule may be an inconvenience for some students, but we believe the early start date may help maximize students’ success in this difficult economy. We will have numerous programs and communications in the next few months to prepare you for Early Interview Week.
Students seem to feel good about this decision. One tipster reports:
At least they were up-front about the reason.
With all these schools interviewing in the middle of August (prime vacation time for partners and senior associates), you have to wonder if firms will have enough interviewers to go around.
Jiminy jillickers! ATL editors are going all over the place over the next month or so. Or at least all over the Eastern Seaboard. If we aren’t heading to your neck of the woods on these trips, never fear, we may hit you up on the next time around. We’ve already hit up Houston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the past year.
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.
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