Job Searches

Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSure, the U.S. Department of Justice has some issues right now. But a great many talented and dedicated people still work for the DOJ — and aspire to work there:

You should do a fall recruiting thread on the DOJ Honors Program. Interviews are happening for the next [few] weeks. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of and get information from interviewees, as well as current and former DOJ attorneys. What do you say?

We say: Sure! Here’s the thread you’ve requested. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Honors Program, here’s a description:

The Attorney General’s Honors Program

The highly competitive Honors Program is only way that the Department hires entry-level attorneys. Selection for employment is based on many elements of a candidate’s background including academic achievement, law review or moot court experience, legal aid and clinical experience, and summer or part-time legal employment. The Department also considers specialized academic studies (including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees), work experience, and extracurricular activities that directly relate to the work of the Department.

More details, including eligibility requirements and a timeline, are available here.

To get things started, we toss out a few possible topics, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: DOJ Honors Program”

Thacher Proffitt Wood LLP Above the Law blog.jpgHow quickly times have changed. A little over a month ago, Thacher Proffitt & Wood couldn’t hire people fast enough. At Boston University School of Law, they relaxed their traditional on-campus interview standards, to try and get people through the door. From a BU tipster:

“Thacher Proffitt & Wood’ lowers standards — see below. Maybe Loyola 2L can get an interview with them, if he has a 3.9 at Loyola.”

Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2007 17:38:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: [BU recruiting]
Subject: Thacher Proffitt & Wood Resume Collection Still Open

There is still time to submit your resume to Thacher Proffitt & Wood’s resume collection on Symplicity. Hiring criteria: Minimum of a 3.4 and a journal is preferred. Only hiring in Structured Finance and Real Estate. New York Office only. If interested, please submit your resume, transcript and cover letter by NOON on Monday, September 17th through their resume collection in the “2007 Late OCI” session under the OCI tab on Symplicity.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Now, of course, structured finance and real estate ain’t looking so hot, thanks to the mortgage mess and credit crunch. Firms that are big in structured finance are struggling to keep their lawyers busy. See, e.g., McKee Nelson (previously discussed here).
More about Thacher Proffitt, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Slowdown Watch: Thacher Proffit & Wood”

Here is the latest Job of the Week, courtesy of ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link. To refresh your recollection:

“Because Lateral Link does no cold-calling and is more efficient than traditional recruiting firms, successful candidates receive $10,000 upon placement.”

Position Title: Trial Attorney
Position Description: An innovative, New York-based litigation boutique seeks a well-credentialed, mid-level litigation associate. This firm has 14 attorneys and is well-known for its select group of prestigious private and institutional clients, including celebrities, executives and directors at Fortune 100 companies, top-tier investment banks, and prominent private equity firms. The scope of the firm’s work includes complex civil litigation as well as regulatory and criminal investigations.
Requirements: Top 10 law school; law review and/or federal clerkship is a plus.
To apply for this position, or to learn about other career opportunities, please visit
Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)

threesome threeway Above the Law blog.jpg* Professor Eugene Volokh wonders: Does engaging in a three-way with a current client and the client’s girlfriend count as having sex “with a current client” — a practice forbidden by state bar rules? [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Professor Ann Bartow wonders: Why call it “law porn”? [Feminist Law Professors via Blawg Review]
* Paralegal of the Day? [TPM Muckraker]
* A way for that Cleary Gottlieb Glamour editor to earn some extra cash on the side? [City Room]
* “Law school grads: burnt by the job search process? A journalist wants to hear about it.” [JD Underground]

lifestyle law firms Above the Law blog.jpgIs there such a thing as a “lifestyle” law firm? We’ve previously expressed skepticism: “[I]n every law school class, some people believe in kinder, gentler law firms. And lavender unicorns.”
Interestingly enough, we’ve been hearing that this recruiting season, New York’s top Biglaw shops aren’t placing much emphasis on “lifestyle.” While firms continue to talk about “collegiality” and say things like “there are no screamers here,” recruits report being told, even at the kinder / gentler firms, “You WILL work hard here.” Perhaps certain firms don’t want to get criticized for pulling the old bait-and-switch: brag about the “lifestyle” to 2Ls, show them a great time as summer associates, and then sling them over a barrel and have your way with them, once they show up full time.
But that’s at the largest law firms, in major markets like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Could smaller firms, especially in other markets, offer more options?
More discussion, built around the case study of a 10-lawyer boutique in Atlanta, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: ‘Lifestyle’ Law Firms?”

Heller Ehrman LLP Above the Law blog.JPGIn the comments to yesterday’s post about Heller Ehrman, there was some debate about how grave the firm’s current problems are. Last night, more bad news broke, from Legal Pad (via the super-vigilant Blogonaut):

Another day, another Heller lawyer gone. Corporate partner Kyle Guse has jumped from the firm’s Silicon Valley office to McDermott Will & Emery. Guse told Legal Pad that the current rumblings at the roughly 700-lawyer Heller had nothing to do with his decision to leave….

Guse represents biotech and tech companies and said he’ll be bringing his clients with him to the new firm.

So tell us, loyal reader(s), what is going on at Heller? Are more partners going to leave? Will captain Matt Larrabee guide the firm to safety?

Nancy Cohen Nancy Sher Cohen diva Heller Ehrman Above the Law blog.jpgATL readers: any thoughts?
For the record, we take no pleasure in Heller Ehrman’s difficulties; we’re just covering a story. When we were in private practice, our experiences with Heller Ehrman were quite positive. We attended several depositions defended by the diva-licious Nancy Sher Cohen, who protected her witnesses like a lioness protecting her cubs. We were most impressed by this badass litigatrix (who is also a community activist and cancer survivor; see this profile).
P.S. And the cookies served in Heller’s New York office were delicious! No matter what happens to the firm, we hope that the cookie recipe will be preserved for posterity.
Corporate Partner Exits Heller Ehrman [Legal Pad / Cal Law]
More Bad News for Heller: Yet Another Partner Defection [Blogonaut]
Sher Cohen’s Law & Order: Justice Unit []
Earlier: Going to Heller in a Handbasket? (Part 1)

McKee Nelson LLP AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgAs noted recently in The American Lawyer, the credit market crisis isn’t good news for firms with big securitization / structured finance practices. We previously discussed the topic here.
One firm mentioned in Ben Hallman and Aruna Viswanatha’s AmLaw article was McKee Nelson. Hallman and Viswanatha wrote: “[S]maller niche firms are more vulnerable [to credit market problems]. About half of McKee Nelson’s 200 lawyers, and almost forty percent of Thacher Proffitt & Wood’s 350 attorneys, work in structured finance.”
Today we received this tip about McKee Nelson:

Name partners Bill McKee and Will Nelson had a meeting with all associates and counsel on Monday afternoon. While the mantra “we are not going to have any layoffs” was repeated over and over, lawyers were encouraged to take sabbaticals, consider changing practice groups to tax or litigation, or “self-identify” to take a “change of venue” to another firm or field. They announced that each associate and counsel would meet individually with hiring partners in New York and DC.

At one such meeting, held yesterday, a first-year was told that, while there was no timeline required, the firm would help the associate find another job and was given the name and web address of a recommended recruiter to work with.

Sounds like a layoff to me! Oddly, despite encouraging these “changes of venue” the firm still intends to follow industry standard for bonuses for this year (whatever that means).

We reached out to the firm for comment. Founding partner William Nelson responded promptly to our inquiry:

The difference between a layoff and what we are doing is that no one is losing their job. As a result of the fundamental disruption in the credit markets, we do not have enough work to keep all of our structured finance lawyers fully busy. We want to keep these lawyers productively engaged while the market sorts itself out.

To do that, we have given people options that include moving into other areas of our practice where we have significant need for additional lawyers, possible secondment to clients, or taking sabbaticals (which many associates have requested in the past). In addition, we asked any lawyers who already are planning a near-term career change or change of venue (meaning moving to a different firm or in-house) to please let us know and we would help them make that move.

We thank Mr. Nelson for his response. While the credit slowdown and its consequences for law firms are certainly regrettable, McKee Nelson is taking reasonable and sensible steps to address a difficult situation. Nobody is being forced to leave the firm; people are just being encouraged to consider all their options.
A special request: please go easy on McKee Nelson in the comments. The firm should be commended for (1) its openness and transparency with respect to its current situation, and (2) responding to us so promptly and in such detail. We would like firms to feel “incentivized” to come forward with such information and to cooperate with ATL’s inquiries. Thanks.
P.S. Please note that our filing of this post under the Layoffs category should not be construed as a statement that layoffs are taking place. We use this tag rather liberally, applying it to any post that arguably falls within the penumbra of layoff talk (which may or may not be founded).
Earlier: More Woe Ahead for Private Equity and Mortgage-Backed Securities Lawyers?

Roy Pearson Judge Roy L Pearson Abovethelaw Above the Law legal blog.jpgOkay, it’s not a “layoff,” since it’s not due to economic pressures. Rather, it’s due to his being a total asshat judicial record and temperament — and maybe a certain infamous lawsuit he filed.
From the Washington Post:

Roy L. Pearson Jr., whose $54 million lawsuit against a Northeast Washington dry-cleaning shop was rejected in court, is about to lose his job as an administrative law judge, sources said last night.

A city commission voted yesterday against reappointing Pearson to the bench of the Office of Administrative Hearings, which hears cases involving various D.C. boards and agencies. Pearson, who was up for a 10-year term, had tried to hold on to the job.

Expect the litigious Pearson to fight any refusal to reappoint him:

If the panel carries out its decision against reappointing him, Pearson, 57, could take the case to the D.C. Court of Appeals. In a separate filing, he is asking the appellate court to overturn the decision in the dry-cleaning case.

The sources said that had Pearson’s term not ended this May, at the height of his battle with the dry cleaners, he might have kept the job. His term has expired, but Pearson has remained on the payroll, making $100,000 a year as an attorney adviser for the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Judge Set to Lose Job, Sources Say [Washington Post]

Latham Watkins LLP Above the Law blog.JPGAs we previously wrote, there appears to be no truth to rumors of possible layoffs at Latham & Watkins. But even mentioning the words “layoff” and “Latham” in the same post got some people upset. We’d like to share some of the responses we received:

[T]he idea of layoffs [at Latham is] ridiculous. NYC M&A is still busy as hell, and on the whole the pace numbers, despite the traditional August lulls (read: not just credit market, it’s AUGUST) are very solid. They’re still bringing in laterals and still printing money.

And here’s a correction to the suggestion of possible slowness at the firm:

[O]ne of the comments you posted had incorrect data. The New York office was only at 90 percent pace for September, as some of your commenters noted. But for the year to date, even after a very slow August and September, New York’s pace is well over 100 percent. In fact, the office is about where it was last year, so things are nowhere near as bad as the doomsayers would have you think.

Plus, in the last week, things have began picking up substantially. In a few months, maybe we’ll be back to “NY to 190!”

Finally, we got our hands on firm-wide memo from Chairman and Managing Partner Robert Dell, discussing “firm culture.” It’s not very exciting, and it’s probably best read as a welcome to new associates, as opposed to some veiled discussion of layoffs.
If you’re curious, you can check it out after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Nothing to See Here, Please Move Along Watch: Latham & Watkins”

rejected rejection letter Above the Law blog.jpgGetting rejected by a law firm and having lots of your classmates learn about it: embarrassing.
Getting rejected by a firm you didn’t even apply to: priceless.
I’m afraid I must reject your rejection [TJ's Double Play]
Earlier: Public Humiliation, Courtesy of Your Friends at Wilson Sonsini

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