Job Searches

Army recruiting Uncle Sam I Want You Above the Law blog.jpgWhen law firms reject job applicants, they tend to do so in pretty straightforward fashion. Maybe you get a bare bones letter thanking you for your interest and your time. Sometimes mistakes happen — see, e.g., here and here — but they are rare, since the rejection process is so simple.
It looks like the military does things a little differently. From a tipster:

Check out this letter from the Army. Evidently I was a tad unqualified — although the depth and detail of this letter was a little over the top.

The reader is left with any number of questions. How does the successful candidate wear his hair? What brand of toothpaste does he use? Favorite color? Pastimes? Favorite sports team?

Check out the letter, posted below the fold (i.e., click on the “Continue reading” link).

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Now This Is What We Call A Rejection Letter
(Or: Uncle Sam Does NOT Want You)”

summer associate Above the Law blog.jpgThe recruiting season for 2Ls — scooped up by law firms eager to hire them as summer associates, fatten them up at fancy lunches, and get them addicted to a luxury lifestyle — is pretty much over. So now is a good time to take stock of who fared well (and who didn’t).
From a tipster at Sidley Austin (New York):

On its internal site for new summers, the firm releases the list of incoming 2008 summer associate class. It is 38 people long, and one has to assume hiring has likely ended. The list from last year was accessible until recently, and that list was 62 people long. Additionally, NALP data shows the firm’s NYC office had 58 and 54 summers in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

The significant drop in number of incoming summer associates this summer may be a proxy for the economic health of the firm. In a way, it is positive, because it indicates a proactive measure on the part of firm. That is, they aren’t going to risk bringing aboard more summers than they can hire; chances of not getting an offer due to a downturn in business are much lower.

That’s an optimistic take. Most people would read a drop in summer associate class size as a sign of declining recruiting appeal or “mojo” among law students. Saint-cum-superman Barack Obama met his wife while summering at Sidley. Was that fact not enough to sway recruits?
Update: We have contacted the firm for comment and are waiting to hear back from them.
Here are some other things we’ve been hearing (mere rumors, so take with a grain of salt):

1. Wiley Rein: vastly oversubscribed, perhaps due to their topping the Am Law 100 in profits per partner, thanks to the RIM / Blackberry settlement.

2. Wachtell Lipton: our former firm, which we shamelessly plug in these pages, is also hosting a much larger summer class than usual. Office space could become an issue.

3. Kirkland & Ellis: a somewhat lower yield than usual. Some people blame us, but we’ve offered both sides of the story. We also give K&E lots of props around here for their generous bonuses (and awesome summer associates).

So, if you know: How did your firm do in the summer associate sweepstakes? Please discuss, in the comments (or send us email if you prefer). Thanks.
Further Update: Some tips we received via email, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Summer Associate Recruiting Sweepstakes: Open Thread on Winners and Losers”

If you’re not already a member of Lateral Link, you can sign up through their website. Membership, which is free and confidential, allows you to learn about new legal opportunities as they become available. Successfully placed candidates receive a $10,000 placement bonus.
Position: Executive Compensation Attorney
Location: New York
Position Description: Top firm seeks a senior executive compensation/employee benefits associate to join the firm’s quickly growing executive compensation group. The firm would consider bringing on an outstanding lateral associate and immediately making them partner.
Skills requirements: At least 6 years of executive compensation experience, and the ability to step into a senior role and work independently.
Firm Description: This Chicago-based law firm ranks Top 10 on AmLaw 100 rankings of U.S. firms by revenues and is known for consistently paying at or above market salary and bonuses.
For more information, see job #7521 on Lateral Link.
Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)

coolie cart puller Above the Law blog.jpgEvery now and then, we like to highlight super-crappy especially unappealing job opportunities. See, e.g., this one (perfect for those of you who think sleep is overrated).
A reader at the University of Texas Law School recently sent a great job posting our way. A teaser:

Where to begin? First, what the heck is “Associate Attorney II”? Second, workday commences at 8 AM, and work week is 50-60 hours, Monday through Friday (not including possible weekend and holiday work). Third, anyone who cannot sit for two hours, or requires use of any ADA accommodations, need not apply. Fourth, everything is at the partners’ discretion. Oh, and just in case you thought otherwise, “[t]his description is for recruitment purposes, only, and does not constitute a contract.”

We noticed a few other less-than-appealing aspects of the job:

1. Pay is $4K a month. (This is a lawyer’s job, right? At a law firm?)

2. The job requires a current Texas driver’s license and “the ability to drive long distances unaccompanied during daylight and nighttime hours.”

3. One of the practice areas is “water / wastewater / solid waste” law.

4. The job requires the ability to “carry[] loads of up to 35 pounds (such as books, binders, and files).” (To repeat: this is a lawyer’s job, right?)

5. Yes, there are bonuses — for associates who “produc[e] stellar work product and exceed[] billable hour goals,” and “at the discretion of the partners.”

Well, at least they’re honest. No pretending to match the Cravath bonus scale, while in reality giving market-level bonuses to only a handful of associates.
Read the full job listing, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Definitely Not the Job of the Week”

Here’s the latest Job of the Week, courtesy of ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link. If you’re not already a member of Lateral Link, you can sign up through their website. Membership, which is free and confidential, allows you to learn about new legal opportunities as they become available.
Position: Staff Counsel
Company: ActBlue
Location: Boston, MA
Position Description: Staff Counsel will report to Executive Director. Initial responsibilities will include:
• Research of campaign finance laws and regulations at the federal, state and local levels.
• Developing and implementing legal and lobbying strategies to expand ActBlue’s ability to operate at the state level.
• Ensuring compliance with all applicable campaign finance and privacy laws.
• Cultivating relationships with election offices and local campaign finance attorneys across the country.
• Responding to legal inquiries and complaints.
Additional information, after the jump.

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Adolf Hitler paralegal Above the Law blog.jpgA legal staffing agency put up an advertisement soliciting applications for a temporary paralegal position. Cover letters and résumés started rolling in. Like this one:

Hello there,

I am not a paralegal. But, I type 85 WPM and used to be [an] executive assistant and have multiple skillsets, easy to train, that honestly set me $1000 over the salary of a degreed political science bachelors degreed [sic] person. Sadly, she was aggressive and began reading Hitler’s methods and worked her way to stop my success with her deception.

The compliance lawyer finally figured out what she was doing and wound up getting rid of her. She now works in buying and selling electrical components somewhere.

So, I have no way to measure her value or mine within this paralegal field. I’ll let you be the judge.

A cover letter referencing Hitler? + 10 points. We don’t know what “Hitler’s methods” consist of, but then again, we never read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Nazis.
Read the rest of this long, strange, rambling cover letter — does the applicant need a paralegal gig, or a therapist? — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Not To Respond to an Ad for Temporary Paralegal Assistance”

Thacher Proffitt Wood LLP Above the Law blog.jpgWe had been hearing rumors this morning of associate layoffs at Thacher Proffitt & Wood. The rumor mill was claiming that somewhere between 30 to 40 associates were given pink slips by TPW.
As is so often the case, the truth is somewhat different, but the rumors not completely unfounded. Thacher Proffitt has not laid off any associates just yet, and certainly not as many as 40. The firm has, however, notified a smaller number of associates — namely, 24 non-first-year associates — that their being laid off in January is “a near certainty.” It is also encouraging first-year associates in its Structured Finance and Real Estate practice groups to look for other opportunities.
In response to inquiries from us, TPW issued this statement, through a spokesperson:

It is no secret that the credit crisis has deeply affected our Structured Finance and Real Estate practices, which are large practices in our Firm. Therefore, we have taken the painful step of notifying 24 associates in those practice areas that if we do not see a substantial improvement in the market, it is a near certainty that they will be laid off in January strictly for economic reasons.

These associates are good, hardworking lawyers that any law firm would be fortunate to have. Unfortunately, these associates are working in areas that are currently slow and that will not be active for some time to come. We are delaying a decision on economic layoffs for as long as we can; however, we believe it would be unfair to the associates potentially affected to give them no warning of this possibility. We are encouraging these associates to seek new opportunities and, should they leave the Firm, we will compensate them through the end of March.

In addition, we have offered first-year associates in our Structured Finance and Real Estate groups a four month severance package should they leave the Firm. They are under no obligation to take this offer, [which] is strictly voluntary; however, we feel it is in these associates’ interest to explore other opportunities as well, as we are concerned that we will not be able to provide them with the best work experience at this formative stage of their careers.

We thank Thacher Proffitt for getting back to us so quickly. And we commend the firm for its candor about the possible layoffs, as well as its praise for the affected associates as lawyers.
If you have any associate layoff news that has not been previously reported, please contact us, by email (subject line: “Nationwide Layoff Watch”). Thanks.

graduation cap gown kid Above the Law blog.jpgIn the comments to our post about Thanksgiving horror stories, an interesting (if somewhat off-topic) discussion developed. It started off with a law student complaining about having to study for final exams over the holiday, to which another commenter responded: Why bother? After a certain point, who cares about your law school grades?
The conventional wisdom is that law school grades don’t really matter after your first year. Once you’ve secured your summer associate gig in the fall of your 2L year, you can pretty much coast, according to this theory. Unless you’re hoping to graduate with honors, snag a feeder judge or Supreme Court clerkship, or become a law professor, you don’t need to worry about your law school transcript (as long as you don’t fail anything or lack sufficient credits to graduate, of course).
But in the comments, some readers suggested otherwise. They claimed that if you want to lateral from one firm to another, the firms you’re applying to may request your transcript and consider your grades. Some suggested that grades even matter in the context of partnership decisions.
Thoughts? If you have an opinion or, better yet, hard information, please provide it in the comments. Thanks.
Earlier: Thanksgiving Horror Stories: Open Thread

Here’s the latest Job of the Week, courtesy of ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link. Check out their new, redesigned website by clicking here.
(Since we didn’t post a Job of the Week last week, due to the abbreviated holiday publication schedule, we’ll give you two this week — one today, and one near the end of the week.)
Position: Transactional tax associate at international consulting firm
Location: New York
Description: International management consulting firm seeks associate to join its Transaction Tax Services group.
More details, after the jump.

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American Lawyer summer associate survey Above the Law blog.jpgThe American Lawyer just announced the results of its 2007 summer associate survey. Interestingly enough, the highest-scoring firms weren’t necessarily the biggest firms with the most lavish programs. From Paul Jaskunas’s article:

Small is beautiful, at least in the eyes of 2007′s summer associates. While respondents to our Summer Associates Survey liked big firms, they liked life at small to midsize firms even better. Students craved juicy assignments, friendly offices, and lots of attention, and the firms that best satisfied these needs tended to be medium-sized shops with relatively small summer programs.

Of the top 20 firms, only four had summer programs with more than 100 clerks, while nine hired 30 or fewer summer associates. Students most commonly cited firm reputation as a factor influencing their clerkship decision, but that doesn’t mean that the behemoths of the legal world always have the upper hand in winning over law students.

“They go out of their way to make you feel like a part of the family from day one,” wrote an enthused summer at first-ranked Nutter McClennen & Fish, which had only 11 clerks…. One of the 17 summer associates at second-ranked Fox Rothschild called it “a big firm where you can live a small-firm lifestyle.”

And a full-length firm photo, too!
Based on the proliferation of reader comments on today’s Morning Docket, where we linked to the survey in passing, it’s clear that many of you are dying to discuss the rankings. So here’s an open thread for that purpose. Have at it!
Size Does Matter [American Lawyer Student Edition]
National Rankings: Summer Associate Survey 2007 [American Lawyer Student Edition]
Results By City: Summer Associate Survey 2007 [American Lawyer Student Edition]

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