Unfortunately, this Monday brings more statistics and indications that the job market for lawyers is in very bad shape.
The National Law Journal is reporting that while law students are expected to graduate with an average of $73,000 of debt, job prospects are looking especially weak:
[W]hile most would-be lawyers already have accepted that only a small fraction will start their careers with a big-firm salary of $160,000, the past few weeks of economic chaos have caused many to wonder if any kind of attorney work is in their near future. …
[T]here is genuine cause for concern. The number of legal jobs nationwide is steadily declining, according to employment figures released this month by the U.S. Department of Labor. Jobs in the law sector shrank by 2,000 in September — the fifth consecutive month of losses. The legal work force of 1,165,100 was down by 1.15% from a year ago, when the industry employed 1,178,600 people.
NALP is reporting the anecdotal evidence that we’ve been seeing: law firms are scaling back on their summer associate programs.
Not surprisingly, law students are worried:
One of the biggest challenges for career services professionals is dealing with the rumor mill among law students, who are a “worrisome lot” by nature, said Tom Ksobiech, assistant dean for career services at the University of Alabama School of Law.
“Everyone has heard something from ‘a friend,’ ” he said. “According to the ‘friend,’ there are no jobs anywhere.”
After the jump, practicing attorneys are also feeling the pinch.
[Ed. Note: Eliza Gray is a new writer for Above the Law. She graduated from Harvard and after a six month stint in Brussels covering European Union politics at the European Voice, she moved back to New York to pursue a journalism career. She and Kash will be alternating Morning Docket responsibilities.]
* Hit my car baby, one more time. Today, jurors will continue to deliberate Britney Spears’ driver’s license case, which began last year after she hit a car and ran. If convicted, Spears could start singing behind bars.[Associated Press]
*Scary thought: Obama and McCain are “forming squadrons of lawyers who are filing challenges and preparing in case Election Day doesn’t settle the contest for the White House.” Legal battles have already begun in Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.[Bloomberg.com]
* In addition to Friday’s bombing in Georgia, a lawyer in St. Louis was injured when a briefcase bomb went off in a parking garage. Police do not yet know if the attorney was an intended or unintended target of the blast. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
*Alaska’s Supreme Court will weigh in on the ‘Troopergate’ case this week. The court will decide whether or not to release the results of the investigation spurred by allegations that Sarah Palin abused her powers as Governor to get her brother-in-law fired.[KansasCity.com]
*US attorney Michael J. Garcia and New York attorney general Andrew M. Cuomo are working together to investigate trading in credit-default swaps.[The New York Times]
We spent a fair amount of time last week in lovely Charlottesville, Virginia, where we spoke at the University of Virginia Law School (coverage of our talk appears here and here). We spent lots of quality time with UVA Law students — at dinner, at a karaoke bar, and walking around the beautiful grounds.
One of the highlights of our trip was attending a luncheon talk by the fabulous Dahlia Lithwick, who has covered the Supreme Court for Slate for the past ten years (and who also served as a celebrity judge on ATL Idol). Despite suffering from a nasty flu, she delivered remarks that were hilarious and insightful, shedding much light upon media coverage of the Court.
* Now that the debates are done, it’s time for the dance-off. [MiniMovie]
* Somebody broke into David and Victoria Beckham’s house, but they left the mojo. [Popsquire]
* Nageley, Meredith & Miller attorney suggests waterboarding Barack Obama. At last night’s Al Smith dinner Obama revealed that he was actually from Planet Krypton so everything should be okay. [Legal Blog Watch]
* … but Republicans in New York are facing a lot more than internet threats. [Politico]
* Do you like your lady lawyers to have tatts? [Corporette]
We really don’t know why everybody is so certain that Dechert is laying off a massive number of people. 20, 50, “nearly 100 attorneys,” no number seems too high or outrageous to post in the comments when it comes to Dechert’s “stealth” layoffs.
Clearly the firm is going through some kind of reorganization process, but there haven’t been any official “layoffs” since March.
But with all this smoke, there is bound to be a little bit of fire.
Read Dechert’s official response to the rumors after the jump.
A new study commissioned by an undisclosed top 25 law firm suggests that neither a law school’s ranking nor a student’s GPA is a great predictor of an attorney’s long term success in Biglaw:
Law school rank and GPA were only moderately predictive of success, the study found. In general, one of the study’s authors, Ron Paquette, tells the ABA Journal, “The Harvard attorneys do not perform any better than those at the 30th-ranked law school.”
Of course, that makes sense. Given that many HLS students have based their entire sense of self-worth on going to Harvard, it’s obvious that graduates from WIlliam and Mary can’t hope to compete with … wait, what? I don’t under … ow. Worldview. Melting.
The study also identified attributes that were detrimental to success, and some were “counterintuitive,” the study summary says. Ron Paquette [one of the study's authors] disclosed one of them–foreign language proficiency. He says the study recommended that the law firm should not give “extra credit” to those job-seekers who can speak another language.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the economy is bad. People are losing their jobs, firms are cutting back on summer programs, and some firms are dissolving.
If you are a 2L sitting on multiple offers, could you please — for the love of God — accept one of them already, so the spots you don’t want can be filled by other candidates? At this point, in this market, it is just common courtesy.
And it might be in your best interest as well. The career services office at U. Penn Law School sent around a letter to students today, urging them to make a decision:
We recommend that you do not wait until the expiration of the offer to render a decision. Additionally, in this market, we advise that you seek an extension for an outstanding offer only if you fall under the public interest exception or have truly extenuating circumstances that justify your need for more time. Indecision does not qualify as a legitimate reason for an extension. …
Wednesday, we learned that one of your 2L colleagues had their offer for employment rescinded before the expiration of the offer because the firm experienced a higher than usual acceptances from outstanding offers and had to close their class immediately to prevent over subscription thereto.
If you are sitting on an offer, you might find that your offer has been rescinded by the time you’ve made up your mind. We’re getting (unconfirmed and highly speculative) reports to ATL that multiple firms have extended more offers than they intend to honor and that slots will be given on a first come, first employed basis.
The Supreme Court ruled today to stay a restraining order requiring Ohio to verify thousands of voter registrations by today:
The Supreme Court appeal by [Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer] Brunner, a Democrat, said many mismatches will appear for trivial reasons. She said Wednesday that as many as 200,000 of Ohio’s 660,000 new registrants this year could be affected. She said her office was working to comply with the order but was turning up glitches in the matching process.
The concern was that some voters would be denied their right to vote for reasons as insignificant as typos.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
In its brief decision, the Supreme Court said the U.S. District Court in Columbus should not have granted the Ohio Republican Party’s request for the restraining order. The Supreme Court said the order wasn’t justified because the Ohio GOP was not sufficiently likely to prevail in its argument that the lower court was authorized by Congress to enforce a section of the federal Help America Vote Act in a lawsuit brought by a private citizen.
True story: when I was 8-years-old living on Long Island I went trick-or-treating with my friends without adult supervision. On the way home, my bag full of goodies, I got jumped by a group of older kids. My “friends” were busy running away while I tried to “reason” with the bullies. Sensing the these boys were not going to listen to rational arguments I took my faux briefcase (I was going as Ted Kennedy) and knocked one of the bullies right on the temple. Unfortunately, they were many and I was 8. No candy for me that Halloween.
Since then, I’ve always considered it amazingly stupid for parents to let their kids gambol through the night unattended. It’s a pagan holiday and bad stuff can happen.
If more parents followed this basic safety tip, the sign to the right would not be necessary. Our friend at f/k/a explains:
[It's] the sign that sex offenders must display at their homes in Maryland this Halloween. According to the Times, the bright orange pumpkin is the symbol sex offenders “are required to post on their doors with a warning, in capital letters, to trick-or-treaters: ‘No candy at this residence’.” In addition to posting the sign, the offenders must stay at home, turn off outside lights and not answer the door. Some states prohibit sex offenders from decorating the outside of their homes. But, Maryland is mandating this colorful and “attractive” Halloween decoration.
I’m sure many people can appreciate the practicality of not having your kids sidle up to a convicted sex offender’s house on All Hallows Eve. But should people who have ostensibly “paid their debt” to society be forced to decorate their house because some idiot child might come around begging for food?
Just yesterday we told you about K&L Gates’s seemingly strong position despite this depressing economy. We even included a quote from firm chairman Peter Kalis crowing about his firm:
We have no debt — no long-term debt, no short-term debt — and therefore have a balance sheet that allows us to grow aggressively into a downturn
If that is all true, why would the firm go cheap on the small stuff? One tipster reports:
Last week, the firm switched to cheaper bathroom supplies. The TP’s flakier than a box of Kelloggs. The paper towels dissolve on touch; you’ll know a K&L Gates lawyer by the paper-mache hands. I won’t even mention “the stink.” Smart associates bring chewing gum.
Is there any way to reconcile “top flight law firm” with “unsanitary working conditions?”
After the jump other “perks” K&L Gates is taking away.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Things have changed recently in Korea – a few of our US and UK client firms are looking, very selectively, for a lateral US associate hire. Until just recently, there was not much hiring like this going on in Korea, since US and UK firms started opening offices there. We have already placed two US associates in Korea in the past month at top firms. Most of the hiring partners we work with in Korea do not actively work with other recruiters.
If you are a Korean fluent US associate in London, New York or another major US market, 2nd to 6th year, at a top 20 firm, with cap markets or M&A focus (or mix), or project finance background, and you are interested in lateraling to Korea to a top US or UK firm, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Our head of Asia, Evan Jowers, was just in Korea recently, and Evan and Robert Kinney will be in Korea in a few weeks. We are in the process of helping several firms open new offices in Korea (a number of which are interviewing our partner level candidates) and also helping existing offices there fill openings.
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For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
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