If you graduated from law school in the late 1990s, you may have warm and fuzzy feelings for Gunderson Dettmer, the high-powered Silicon Valley law firm that represents many startup and technology companies. As you may recall, back in 1999 the firm made waves by offering new associates a starting salary of $125,000 — significantly higher than the $100,000 that was standard at the time.

This pay raise then spread around the country, adopted by law firms nationwide as the new standard. Gunderson’s gutsy move generated goodwill from young associates around the country.

But these days Gunderson is getting some less favorable publicity….

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During this recession, there have been a lot of would-be Biglaw associates that have been forced into taking temporary contract work. People have to do what they can to pay the bills.

But in so doing, are they harming their chances of ever getting a full-time job? One recruiting firm thinks they are.

A tipster received a disheartening letter from a legal recruiter:

I submitted a resume to [You Suck] Atty Search nearly two months ago and received this response today. I have passed three bars and have prior firm experience but I am currently working in a contract position. This is the response I got – all I can think is that does this guy really understand what the job market is actually like and how many talented and smart attorneys are currently stuck in contract positions due to the changing market and economics?

Found it to be incredibly condescending.

After taking two months to respond, the recruiter essentially told this candidate that law firms are prejudiced against contract attorneys, notwithstanding the terrible economy…

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