[Ed. note: Once again, we apologize for our technical difficulties.]
As everybody is starting to realize, fall recruiting is not going as well as it has in the past. In Part I of our recruiting roundup, we told you which markets are making it tough on summer associate applicants. Today, we’ll talk about law schools.
If you had to pick one clear loser during this year’s recruitment process, it would have to be Harvard Law School:
Basically, life is not particularly good for Harvard 2Ls these days: 1) OCI Call Backs have all been doled out to other (earlier) schools’ students; and 2) the H-P-LP-F system leaves current Harvard 2L’s at a disadvantage (in terms of misery) to their younger classmates.
Difficulty + Harvard = Open mockery from everyone else:
Dear Harvard students,
We had earlier OCI programs and took your jobs. Sorry.
State school students with multiple v5 and v10 callbacks
Interviews didn’t start at HLS until September 18th, and it’s pretty clear that the late start has hurt applicants. Remember how differently the economy looked just one month ago. On September 12th (before Lehman was thrown down with the sodomites), the Dow closed at 11,421. By September 17th, the Dow was down to 10,609. And right now you need an electron microscope to read the DJIA (9,220 as of 12:30 EDT).
Update: DJIA closed at 8,579 today.
Tomorrow is the last day for HLS OCI. It’s a bad time to have bad timing.
HLS’s response and stories from other schools, after the jump.
We’ve discussed the terrible market for 3Ls, but one D.C.-area law student is taking matters into her own hands. From the source of all that is wonderful, the Craigslist personals:
Are you a lonely lawyer? – 24
Maybe we can do something about that. I’m an ambitious 3L at a good school, and I’d really like to land a job at a terrific firm. Unfortunately, my grades and the job market aren’t the best. Ideally, I would like to meet a cute hiring partner for “networking.” I’m sexy, petite, and very fun to be with. If you’re interested, please tell me a bit about yourself. I’d be happy to exchange pics.
Why are you looking to score a lawyer-man on craigslist? ATL would be happy to post your pictures. And we know that hiring partners and recruiting coordinators read the site regularly.
Still, we admire your willingness to do “what it takes” to secure a job in this difficult market. Sexy, petite, networking is actually great training for your eventual life as a Biglaw associate.
Out of work 3Ls take note: there is always more than one way to get a job.
Many people have interviewing horror stories. But few people actually bother to send a letter to the offending firm.
One Georgetown University Law Center student did just that. After her interview with Harris Beach, the student sent a letter to James Spitz, CEO of Harris Beach:
I was looking forward to the interview until Mr. Frederick Fern and Ms. Judi Abbott Curry entered the conference room. This was the worst and most unprofessional interview that I have ever been on. Not only did Mr. Fern insult me by repeatedly stating that “the only reason” I had received the interview was because my “mom or somebody” had “called in a favor,” he then suggested that I was lazy because I did not have a job yet. “What have you been doing since July?” he kept exclaiming.
I didn’t even know how to respond. When I finally responded, he proceeded to read a document or tap on the table with his pen while I spoke. It was awful.
Harris Beach’s firm motto is “Lawyers you’ll swear by, not at.” It is worth noting that our own personal experiences with Harris Beach attorneys have been positive and professional. But perhaps these particular attorneys could have used a little more tact when dealing with a student trying to navigate these uncertain employment waters.
Unless you are in the top 3rd of your class at a top school, or in the top 10% of your class at a lower ranked school, fall recruiting is kicking your ass. After sifting through nearly 300 comments to our fall recruiting open thread, one dominant theme emerges:
What’s different this year is that the bottom 60% at top schools and the bottom 90% of lower-ranked schools is not doing well.
In Part I of our fall recruiting follow-up, we’ll explore some general themes and discuss which markets are particularly struggling. In Part II we’ll look at which law schools are doing fine, and which ones are not living up to their promises of milk, honey, and money.
Many commenters had stories of great fall recruiting success, much like I have awesome “stories” about that one time I had sex with this one girl … and her sister, in Canada. But even if we leave aside some of the unattributed tales of personal greatness, the consistent meme is that top students are still doing just fine.
For everybody else there seems to be a clear move by firms to limit the size of their summer classes:
offer guarding seems prevalent; firms don’t want to accidentally end up with big classes that they have to no-offer because too many took summer positions.
T-20 school, top 20% w/ journal. I had 14 callbacks all within the V25 in NY. I ended up going on 9 of the 14 and took an offer at a V15 because I honestly was exhausted by the process and didn’t think I would take any of the remaining firms over what I had if they panned out. Of those 9 however, I only received 3 offers. I was told that last year 67% of callbacks in NY resulted in offers. I could be inept, but since I had around a 70% callback rate, I don’t think that’s likely. Additionally, almost none of my friends have offers. I really think the firms are trying to exercise more control by only extending offers to those they are certain are going to accept.
Reports about which legal markets are worth avoiding after the jump.
Mock in-house counsel if you want to (and apparently many of you “want to“), but those jobs still pay great money. A new study says that the average pay for in-house attorneys is $236,000.
Maybe that is what CNBC was talking about when they promised aspiring law grads $200K salaries.
The numbers were even better at the top. According to the ABA Journal:
The average cash compensation, including bonuses, amounts to about $700,000 for general counsel and more than $900,000 for chief legal officers, according to a survey by the legal consulting firm Hildebrandt International. Long-term incentives increased the average total compensation to nearly $1.5 million for general counsel and nearly $2 million for chief legal officers, according to a press release summarizing the survey.
It seems that even as companies are shedding in-house counsel jobs, the attorneys that hang on are making good money.
Unfortunately for those working for law firms, corporations might look to save money by decreasing their reliance on outside counsel. The National Law Journal reports:
Most companies — 67% — said they expect no change in the number of law firms they plan to use in 2008, but nearly a third — 29% — said they anticipate decreasing that number.
The report doesn’t contain an analysis of the hours in-house counsel have to work for their salary. But law firm associates usually cannot claim that they work less than their in-house counterparts.
So while the jobs might be harder than ever to get, in-house still seems to be a great exit option. Unless you were in-house at: Bear, Lehman, WaMu, AIG, or whichever company spits the bit next.
Is law school a good value? That’s the question I ask my students to figure out, hoping to teach them a bit about finance. Using crude numbers, the answer looks like a resounding “yes.” As they say in the investment business, it looks like a “three bagger.” Even if you have to put $230,000 in, you get over $700,000 back!
That’s a cool $470,000 in net present value — a much better return than any American bank is likely to offer you this lifetime. The methodology is based on the Department of Labor’s statistics:
[T]he Wall Street Journal reported recently on salary statistics. While the median salary for persons holding just a BA has slipped to $47,240, those of us with professional degrees have gone up to $89,602. Even better, recent Labor Department numbers show the median salary for lawyers at $106,120. So, as I say to my students, think of your law degree as an annuity. It represents a payment stream that lasts for a career (say 40 years) that equals the spread between what you would have earned without your law degree versus what you can with it. Using the median salary numbers, that spread is almost $60,000. Discounted at 8%, the annuity has a present value of over $700,000. The present value of three years of tuition (at $40,000 a year), books and foregone salary (at the median) is about $230,000. So, as your stockbroker used to say about Lehman bonds, a “no brainer!”
Nice. Of course, that median salary is largely dependent on top firms paying their lawyers large salaries, based on the huge fees charged to wealthy clients.
Should a major economic collapse send the American economy back to the antebellum period, wealthy corporations might not be able to afford… well, everybody here understands we’re totally screwed the worst-case scenario.
If you are considering going to law school, it’s still probably a safe bet. At least it’s a better bet than being an I-banker right now.
Since the last time we took a look at fall recruiting there have been a few interesting economic developments: Lehman collapsed, Heller Ehrman collapsed, and apparently we now live in a socialist republic.
But is all the dour economic news affecting law students in search of summer employment?
Yes. Big time. One tipster reports:
Harvard OCI is NOT going well. People with good grades are not getting callbacks from mid-level firms (e.g., White [& Case]) and people with average grades aren’t getting callbacks from blah firms (Proskauer [Rose], Clifford [Chance], etc.) Chadbourne canceled their whole Harvard OCI program. And people with great grades are getting callbacks at, say, Cravath but not Simpson.
Correction: Apologies. From a Chadbourne spokesperson:
In an item on Abovethelaw.com today headlined “Open Thread: How is the Fall Recruiting Season Shaping Up?” you say that Chadbourne & Parke has cancelled “their whole Harvard OCI.” This is wrong. We are continuing to recruit for our summer program at Harvard Law School. In fact, Chadbourne recruiters are at the Harvard OCI taking place today.
The California market is dealing with its own kind of callback hell. See, e.g., Heller Ehrman.
What are your experiences out on the trail? Last summer, firms claimed that their summer programs were oversubscribed. Are they “correcting” the problem, or is it last call at the Overlook Hotel?
Clients want associates to remember who pays their salary. As we have previously reported, the authors of What About Clients are trying to start a “Value Movement” which, among other things, asks whether associates should pay their firm for the privilege of working.
Unfortunately, this idea just won’t die. And Holden Oliver thinks that the market meltdown is a perfect opportunity to reexamine the structure of the business of law:
Hopefully, there’s this silver lining in the Down Economy: a renewal of the notion that workplaces exist to serve and give value to Customers and Clients, and the companies organized to help them. Not to serve and cater to Employees. As we see it — and most states have traditionally seen it–it’s a privilege to work. Not a right. And it’s a special honor to learn and practice the law.
More people jump on the bandwagon, below the fold.
We received 964 responses to our ATL / Lateral Linksurvey on whether you’re looking for work, and one thing is pretty clear: if you’re a 2L right now, there’s a pretty good chance that the associates you meet in your callbacks don’t actually want to be there.
A whopping 45% of respondents who had been practicing for at least a year said that they were either already looking for a new job or about to start their search.
27% said they were looking for a new job right now,
12% said they were getting their resumes ready, and
6% plan to get their resumes ready just as soon as they receive their bonus checks.
But not everybody’s looking to leave right now. Another 14% of practitioners said that they weren’t planning on looking for a new job . . . because they had just started one.
Even among incoming associates, there was a surprisingly strong tendency toward jumping ship. 14% of respondents in the Class of 2008 are already looking for new jobs, and another 2% are getting their resumes ready.
And third-year law students are also looking around, as 28% of 3L’s said they were interviewing again this fall. Of these, 62% said they were no-offered, and another 5% said they received a cold offer from their summer employer.
Are You Looking For A New Job Right Now? Breakdown By Class
I’m getting my resume ready.
I’ll get my resume ready once I get my bonus.
No, I just accepted an offer or started a new job.
Additional discussion, including a breakdown by practice area, after the jump.
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
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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