Job Searches

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]

Thacher Proffitt Wood LLP Above the Law blog.jpgBack in November, we broke the news that, barring a “substantial improvement” in market conditions, the law firm of Thacher Proffitt & Wood would resort to lawyer layoffs in January. The firm is a major player in structured finance and real estate, two practice areas that have been hard hit by the credit crunch.
January is now here — and, in fact, almost over. We were reminded of this last week, when we saw this article in the New York Sun about law firm layoffs, mentioning Thacher Proffitt:

Earlier this month, Manhattan-based Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft laid off 35 lawyers, 26 of them in New York City, and late last year, Thatcher Proffitt & Wood cut 50 associates’ jobs. The cuts have spurred other firms to follow suit, experts said.

Was the statement accurate, insofar as it suggests or implies that TPW laid off fifty (50) associates? We followed up with Thacher, which issued this statement, through a spokesperson:

As described in our November 27, 2007 official statement, we notified 24 associates in the Structured Finance and Real Estate Practice Groups that if there was no substantial improvement in the market, it was near certain that economic layoffs would take effect in January 2008. As of today, 99% of the 24 associates have accepted a package which compensates them through the end of March 2008, and many have already found new positions. To clarify recent media reports, these events occurred ahead of our initial plan to commence layoffs. [Ed. note: Maybe it should be 96% of the 24 associates -- 23/24 = 95.8%. But who knows... maybe one person is still working part-time for TPW?]

In addition, we offered our first-year associates in the Structured Finance and Real Estate Practice Groups a four-month severance package, should they volunteer to leave the firm. Again, referring to our original statement, the first-year associates’ offer remains strictly voluntary; they are under no obligation to accept it. We do feel it’s in their best interest to explore other opportunities, since we are concerned that we will not be able to provide them with the best work experience at this formative stage of their careers. A group of first-year associates has voluntarily accepted this package.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the goodwill of those in the business and legal communities who have expressed interest in our associates and have helped to place them in new positions. Although these decisions were difficult for our firm, we are confident that our approach kept our associates’ interests in mind and also mitigated our business risks.

We construed this as a statement that the firm did not have to resort to layoffs (as originally planned). We followed up with TPW, and they confirmed this understanding: “Up to this point, departures have been voluntary.” [FN1]
But should TPW associates start dancing in the hallways? Not yet. When we asked if this meant the firm had ruled out layoffs going forward, Thacher was noncommittal: “We cannot speculate on future market conditions and the potential impact on our attorney population.”
So stay tuned. In other TPW news, it’s not just associates who are leaving. Partner V. Gerard (“Jerry”) Comizio, a prominent banking and financial services lawyer here in D.C., just left Thacher to join Paul Hastings (see this press release). When a firm is going through tough times, partner defections are to be expected (although they’re unwelcome news, since rainmaker departures only exacerbate the problem of insufficient business to go around).
[FN1] We realize, of course, that if you “voluntarily” depart after being told you’ll probably be laid off if you stay, it’s not completely “voluntary.” A cynic must suggest that it’s like “voluntarily” giving the mugger your wallet after being told you’ll be shot if you don’t. But, on a hyper-technical level, we wouldn’t consider these departures “true” layoffs. People can always wait for the ax to fall — like the one apparent holdout among the 24 associates.
Fearing Recession, Law Firms Tighten Belts [New York Sun]
Pinup’s Naked Justice: Keeps Lawyer Job [New York Post]
Paul Hastings Bolsters Bank Regulatory Practice with the Addition of V. Gerard Comizio to the Washington, D.C. Office [Paul Hastings (press release)]
Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Thacher Proffitt Announces Likely Future Layoffs

Barack Obama Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.jpgTime is running out on this month’s ATL Lawyer of the Year and Second Favorite Blog After ATL polls, both sponsored by ATL and Lateral Link.
So far, we’re up to just over 2,600 votes for Lawyer of the Year, and Wall Street Journal pick Loyola 2L is still going strong. Meanwhile, Barack Obama has a roughly 2.5 to 1 lead over Hillary Clinton, and Alberto Gonzales is stamping out civil rights stomping on music rights attorney Ray Beckerman . . . but pretty much nobody else.
On the blogging front, the Wall Street Journal remains the blog to beat, while Above The Law is still in second place and Volokh Conspiracy is on track for third, having opened up a hefty lead over Patently-O and SCOTUSblog. Write-in candidate Ms. JD has overpowered Overlawyered, and Likelihood of Confusion has turned the tables on Professor Bainbridge and is now closing in on Skadden Insider.
We’ll post the final results on Thursday.
But while you’re voting for the champions above, are you also voting with your feet at work? In last month’s ATL / Lateral Link job survey about 20% of you responded that you were considering leaving your current firms once you received your bonus. But that was before many of you knew what your bonuses were going to be.
So last week, we asked you whether your job searches were indeed underway. Find out if the answers changed after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Survey Results: Polls, Bloggers and Job Searches”

law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThe topic for today’s open thread: law firm recruiting of law clerks. From an exchange last week in the comments:

“The law firm clerkship recruiting season is picking up, with a lot of clerks’ cocktail parties scheduled in the next few weeks in NY. How about an open thread for clerks to discuss firms?”

“[H]ow about a thread with a list of shame for firms, big and small, that haven’t stepped up and offered clerkship bonuses to make up for the salary hit you take to clerk for a year?”

“Don’t be upset because you realize your clerkship experience is devoid of any value, as evidenced by the nominal clerkship bonuses. You would have been better off working for a large firm straight out of law school, but I understand that mediocre people need all the experience they can get before applying to a prestigious job, much like my own. P.S.: I didn’t apply to any clerkships because I knew (unlike yourself) that I would never recoup the time invested. I am sorry you wasted your time on a clerkship, but don’t be upset simply because firms place little-to-no value on your clerkship experience (and I use the term “experience” loosely).”

So here’s an open thread on Biglaw law clerk hiring. In the comments, feel free to trade notes on which law firms are especially welcoming of clerks, who’s leading (and lagging) on the clerkship bonus front, and whether the clerkship experience is worth it — which we expect to bring out the usual trash talking, from both the pro- and anti-clerking camps. Thanks.

Last month, our ATL / Lateral Link job survey asked you when your firms paid bonuses, and whether you were planning on changing jobs once those bonuses got paid. About 20% of you responded that you were considering leaving your current firms.
For some of you, this meant waiting until you got your bonus. For others, this meant asking the new firm to match the bonus you’d be leaving behind. And for yet another group, the bonus was irrelevant; you just wanted out.
Well, now that most firms have given associates at least some idea of what their bonuses will be — and most have even paid them — is your job search actually underway?
[Update: This survey is now closed.]
We’ll share the results from today’s survey next week. In the meantime, feel free to drop some comments about what your firms are doing to keep you. Cookies? Chair massages? Wear your jeans to work days? New lactation rooms? Or, dare we ask . . . retention bonuses?

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 will receive a $10,000 placement bonus.
Position Type / Location: Law Firm – Tax Associate (Washington, DC)
Position Description: The Washington D.C. office is seeking a mid-level tax associate to work on project finance transactions. This magic circle law firm makes The American Lawyer’s AmLaw 100 rankings. The firm’s practice areas include corporate, bankruptcy and restructuring, intellectual property, litigation, project finance, reinsurance and insurance, and tax. The successful candidate must have at least 3-6 years experience in partnerships, foreign tax planning, leveraged leasing, subchapter C and tax-exempt financing.
For more information, see job #7697 on Lateral Link.
Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)

diploma degree LLM degree cap diploma Above the Law blog.jpgBack in September, during our focus on non-top-tier law schools, there was some brief discussion over how much an LLM degree from a top program can help you in the job search if you graduated from a non-top law school.
Let’s return to that topic. Here’s an email we recently received, from a loyal reader of ATL:

I am emailing you to ask if you would do a thread about LLM programs. Specifically, I am a 2L at a top 25 law school, and I’m in the middle of my class. Every semester I improve my grades; however, I am still not in BigLaw range. I am thinking of getting an LLM in Tax from Georgetown, NYU, etc., and I was wondering about career prospects for people like me.

For example, would I be at a disadvantage come hiring time because I will have gone straight through from JD to LLM? Would I need to be in the top 10% of my LLM class? Do firms give progression / bonuses for people who get LLMs? Any other information would also be helpful.

This is a subject we’re not terribly familiar with, so we’ll turn these queries over to the readership. If you have information or advice to share with our correspondent, please do so in the comments. Thanks.

David Burcham Dean David W Burcham Loyola Law School Above the Law blog.jpgIn a front-page Wall Street Journal article last year, Dean David Burcham of Loyola Law School expressed a desire to help Loyola 2L with his job search. And it seems that Dean Burcham, himself a Loyola alum, has no shortage of job opportunities. From a just-issued press release:

After eight years at Loyola Law School Los Angeles as the Fritz B. Burns dean and senior vice president, David W. Burcham was named today to the newly created position of executive vice president and provost of Loyola Marymount University. Victor J. Gold, a veteran law professor and a former associate dean, was named interim dean and senior vice president. A national search for a permanent dean will begin immediately.

Eager to entertain complaints from non-top-tier law school graduates about their grim job prospects? This job’s for you. Remember, Loyola 2L hasn’t graduated yet.
Meanwhile, in other non-elite law school dean news, the Orlando Sentinel has this report:

Florida A&M University’s new law school dean was scheduled to start work at the school’s Orlando campus next Monday.

But after a series of phone calls, LeRoy Pernell altered his plans and showed up Thursday to meet twice with students who are upset about grading policies, course offerings and accreditation. He plans a third meeting with night students next week.

“It’s my intention as dean to really be available,” said Pernell, speaking to the more than 100 students who gathered for Thursday’s afternoon session.

How long will this last? In a few weeks, will Dean Pernell barricade himself in his office, with his secretary dumping a cauldron of hot water on the students below?
Update: It seems that our round-up of Tier 2 Law School Dean news is incomplete:

No one wants to hear about Florida A&M (didn’t even knew it existed). How about some love for the Jesuits? Creighton just named a new dean. Press release here.

The press release refers to him as “Eric A. Chiappinelli, J.D.” It helps for your law school dean to have a law degree.
Dean David W. Burcham Named Provost of Loyola Marymount University (press release) [EarthTimes.org]
FAMU dean reassures law students [Orlando Sentinel]
Creighton School of Law Names New Dean [Creighton University School of Law]

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.
Positions: In-House Counsel – Real Estate, In-House Counsel – Corporate
Location: Newton, Massachusetts
Position Descriptions:
Corporate: Seeking a transactional attorney with four or more years of large law firm experience. Corporate, securities, finance/project finance or energy experience is a plus but not a requirement. Public company experience and SarbOx also a plus but not a requirement. The candidate must be comfortable working in a relatively unstructured environment and will be expected to handle day-to-day tasks while reporting to GC on larger issues. This person will work primarily with the GC and the finance team. The candidate must be able to work in a fast-paced environment and be able to handle multiple demands and transactions. The Company is growing quickly and it is a very dynamic workplace; the ideal candidate must be able to accommodate change relatively quickly.
Real Estate: Seeking candidate with four or more years of transactional real estate experience. The ideal candidate has experience with lenders and equity investors, can identify and resolve title issues, and can review real estate documents (including project leases, easements, crossing agreements, commercial leases). This candidate would be responsible for working with developers on land acquisitions for Company projects and would work with the GC, Assistant GC and the finance team on resolving issues and getting projects financed. The candidate must be able to work in a fast-paced environment and be able to handle multiple demands and transactions. The Company is growing quickly and it is a very dynamic workplace; therefore the ideal candidate must be able to accommodate change relatively quickly. The candidate needs to have good communication and interpersonal skills, as they will be dealing with rural landowners and employees inside the company.
Company Description: This privately held company is a leader in wind power production, with more than 40 wind farms in development across the country. Based in Newton, Massachusetts, the company is focused on wind farm development, ownership and operation. The company builds primarily in the Northeast, West and Hawaii, and is already producing nearly 100 MW of energy through three operational wind farms. The company is currently developing more than 3,500 MW of wind power projects in several markets through various subsidiary companies. The company is managed and supported by a team of more than 100 talented and dedicated individuals committed to the company’s environment.
For more information, see job # 7661 and job # 7662 on Lateral Link.
Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)

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)”

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