Job Searches

There have been some rumblings on this blog of a slowdown in judicial clerk hiring, even as firms raise clerkship bonuses to $50K.
Today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey digs a little deeper into who is (or isn’t) hiring judicial clerks, and what their bonuses look like.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here or here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

We received 1,062 responses to our ATL / Lateral Link survey on in-house aspirations.
As shown in the charts below, over half of associates are satisfied or even “very satisfied” with their current positions, but about half would still like to go in-house.
Associate Responses: Are You Satisfied With Your Current Job?
associatesatisfaction.jpg
Associate Responses: Would You Like To Go In-House?
associateinhouse.jpg
Find out why and where associates want to move, and what in-house counsel are thinking themselves, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey: Does the In-House Always Win?”

Thacher Proffitt Wood LLP Above the Law blog.jpgThis morning we’ve been hearing rumors of associate layoffs at Thacher Proffitt & Wood. As you may recall from ATL’s prior coverage (scroll down), TPW has reduced its ranks over the past few months, through voluntary departures. But those departures took place after the firm warned that it might have to resort to layoffs.
Apparently something went down at the firm yesterday afternoon. Some sources characterized what happened as layoffs, with affected associates given until May to leave. But we contacted the firm, which denied the rumors and issued this statement:

Thacher Proffitt has not done layoffs. We have increased our efforts to provide associates with outplacement in practice areas that have been most affected by current market conditions.

We take the firm at its word; they’ve been pretty candid in the past about their personnel decisions and how they’ve been affected by the credit crunch. If you have the inside scoop on what took place yesterday, please email us. Thanks.

bodybuilder weightlifter bodybuilding weightlifting Above the Law blog.jpgAn excerpt from an ad in the “legal jobs” section of the Denver craigslist:

The ideal candidate would be admitted to practice Colorado State Bar, and have at least 4 to 7 years experience. Experienced professional demeanor in client contact both in person and on the telephone is a must. Ability to work and adapt in a fast-paced environment is crucial. The candidate should have a very high level of proficiency with MS Word, Outlook, and Excel. Experience with TABS billing software is a plus. Must be able to lift up to 25 lbs. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

Are we witnessing the start of a trend, as the market for legal talent shifts from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market? This isn’t the first law firm advertisement we’ve seen requiring the ability to engage in heavy lifting (quite literally). See also this ad (applicants must have the ability to “carry[] loads of up to 35 pounds”).
Associate for Litigation Group [Denver craigslist]
Earlier: Definitely Not the Job of the Week

Earlier this week, we told you about client contact, and asked you about your firm’s leave policies (that survey’s still live, by the way). In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we explore whether you’d like to leave your firm to become a client:
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this survey.

Lateral Link Laterallink Above the Law blog.jpgCongratulations to our good friends over at Lateral Link, ATL’s career partner. They just got a great write-up in the Wall Street Journal, which identifies them as a Web 3.0 recruiting trendsetter. Reporter Sarah Needleman writes:

What’s so different: Lateral Link generally limits access to its job postings to graduates of top-tier law schools with a minimum of two years of work experience. About 5,000 applicants have been approved to date. Unlike most job sites, Lateral Link’s recruiters get in direct contact with members who apply for the positions it lists. Another distinction: Lateral Link pays a $10,000 bonus to members who land positions at law firms, though not corporations.

“Through our Web-based platform, we’re able to operate much more efficiently than a traditional recruiting firm, and therefore are able to pass along our cost savings to the job hunter,” says T.J. Duane, a principal at Lateral Link, which was founded by three Harvard Law School graduates. The reward is also consistent with the referral bonus that many law firms pay associates, he adds.

You can read the rest of the piece, which also includes testimonials from happy lawyers who landed jobs (and multiple job offers) after working with Lateral Link, by clicking here.
Members Only: LateralLink.com [Wall Street Journal]

A Plus grade pass fail grading law school Above the Law blog.gifMost law students are well into the spring semester of law school. First- and second-year students will soon have to pick their courses for fall 2008.
Here’s a subject that may be on some of their minds: pass / fail grading. Check out this interesting article in the Stanford Daily (from last month; we came across it belatedly, while going through our 4,000-email backlog over the weekend):

In a departure from tradition, record numbers of first-year law students chose to take at least one of their first semester courses pass-fail this year.

Law students have traditionally found themselves in a bind when choosing to “3k,” the common term for pass-fail grading. Students interviewed independently described the situation repeatedly as a “prisoner’s dilemma,” referencing the archetypal problem of decisions made with imperfect information.

Choosing to be graded pass-fail, whatever one’s personal reasons, could cause problems if the student is one of only a handful of students to do so in the law school class. However, last semester somewhere between one-third and one-half of first-year students elected to take a class pass-fail, a fact which affects the way the action is perceived by others.

There was this whole issue before where employers might say it’s an oddity,” said first-year law student Chris Wells. “[From orientation onwards] a lot of us wanted to make it a real option at the law school.”

The SLS students were spurred to action by one of their peers:

First-year law student John Kimble drafted an open letter about the 3k decision and sent it to the first-year student email list on the last day students could choose their grading basis. Seeing the letter and the excitement it generated emboldened students to take the pass-fail option and also gave the student body an indication of the movement’s support.

So, ATL readers, what do you think? Is taking more courses on a pass-fail basis a smart move, or is it ill-advised? What types of courses lend themselves best to being taken pass-fail? For those of you involved in hiring — of law firm associates, law clerks, AUSAs, etc. — do you askance at transcripts with lots of pass-fail classes?
And will this trend spread to other law schools? Or is it a luxury available only to students at places like small and selective Stanford, where even academic underperformers can still land good jobs?
P.S. Stanford Law School students seem to be in the vanguard these days when it comes to taking a stand against some of the more stressful or unpleasant aspects of the legal profession. The school is also the home of Building A Better Legal Profession, a group of law students pushing to reform Biglaw. For their mission statement, click here.
First-years go pass-fail [Stanford Daily]
building a better legal profession [official website]

Palau American Samoa Above the Law blog.jpgSome people clerk for the experience. And some people clerk for the experience. From an interesting article entitled “Clerks in Paradise,” which appeared in last month’s American Lawyer:

[Some go clerk for feeder judges, and some go clerk for] courts in the Northern Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and other tropical locales in the Pacific Ocean. These former United Nations trust territories have legal systems similar to those of the United States, and appeals from their courts traditionally lie with U.S. courts. Many of these territories invite American law graduates to spend a year or two working in their courts as clerks and counsel.

The pull of the Pacific can be powerful.

When Timothy Schimpf accepted a position as court counsel in Palau, a nation of more than 300 islands that became independent in 1994, he turned down a permanent job as a trademark attorney with the federal government. “It’s absolutely worth it to take a chance and go do something outlandish,” he says.

The $40,000 salary he earned in Palau wouldn’t go far in America, but life in the Pacific Islands had its perks. From Schimpf’s government-provided beachfront housing, after-work swims and kayak sessions were easy.

Sounds like a pretty sweet gig. Read more — about clerking in paradise, and about the current job market for law clerks applying to large law firms — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clerks in Paradise? Maybe Not When It Comes To Hiring”

Here’s an open thread request we’ve received from multiple sources. A representative message:

I’m trying to gather more info about firms / offices that pay NYC salary + NYC bonus in secondary markets. For example, I believe that Weil and Skadden both do in Dallas and Houston, but none of the other firms in Texas do. I don’t know if you’ve done a post about this before, but I think it might be interesting, because $205K goes really far in TX.

Skadden Wilmington is another possible example.

That’s correct about Skadden in Wilmington. Another well-paying secondary market: Charlotte. A CLT tipster tells us: “Mayer Brown, Dechert, Dewey, and Cadwalader have all increased salaries to $160K here in Charlotte.”
Hold on a sec — Cadwalader? Didn’t they just lay off 35 lawyers, including some in Charlotte?
Yes, they did — but they also raised salaries for the survivors. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Diamonds in the Rough: Open Thread on Offices in Secondary Markets That Pay the Full $160K Scale
(And a digression on Cadwalader in Charlotte)”

Jonny Lee Miller Eli Stone Angelina Jolie Above the Law blog.jpg* A shout-out to the Elect on TV tonight. The lawyer protagonist of the new ABC drama, “Eli Stone” — portrayed by Jonny Lee Miller (pictured), an ex-husband of Angelina Jolie — is supposedly a former law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [New York Times]
* A novel approach to the legal job hunt: build your own website, then advertise it in the ABA Journal. If Loyola 2L doesn’t have a job lined up already — although rumor has it that he does, which may explain his “retirement” from blogging — here’s something for him to consider. [3L for Hire and ABA Journal, via WSJ Law Blog]
* More proof that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is a wannabe Eliot Spitzer. [DealBreaker]
* Lawyerly lairs: Tunisia. [flickr]

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