It’s hard to put a number on just how many people are in the so-called “lost generation” of attorneys who had their careers ruined during the recession. We’ll probably never know how many people did not get jobs or had to take very bad jobs because of the weak economy in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
But one way of assessing the damage is to look at the number of positions that have been shed by Biglaw firms. That’s the perspective the National Law Journal 250 took this year. Based on their numbers, Biglaw has lost almost 10,000 lawyers since 2008.
So if you got laid off during the recession, you are certainly not alone…
It’s a familiar refrain around these parts: it’s tough to find legal employment, unless you got into one of the top law schools. The prevailing wisdom is that students at the “best” (i.e., highest-ranked) law schools have been protected from the recession-dampened job market facing recent graduates of most American law schools. “HYS” (Harvard, Yale, Stanford), “CCN” (Columbia, Chicago, NYU) — these law schools are thought to be safe bets for people who would like to be employed upon graduation.
But are they?
We know that things aren’t as bad for students at top schools as they are for people attending schools that are not ranked as highly by U.S. News. But that doesn’t mean a degree from a “T6″ school parts the jobless sea and leads graduates to the promised land of gainful employment.
In fact, at this late date in the law school calendar, we know that there are 3Ls at great schools staring into the abyss of post-graduate unemployment. The proof comes from the charity that employed students are trying to extend to their unemployed brethren…
Whenever it feels like things are getting better in the legal economy, Craigslist shows up to remind everybody just how crappy things still are. If you want to know why there is a higher education bubble (and there is a higher education bubble), you need only look at the kind of pathetic salaries offered to people with years of higher education.
Now, if you were exploring the Above the Law jobs board, you wouldn’t be peppered with offers like the ones we’re seeing on Craigslist. But we can’t beat Craigslist for comedic value.
After the jump, check out two “jobs,” which you need years of expensive education and experience to even be in the running for…
Although Howrey LLP officially dissolved as a partnership as of March 15, some operations continued beyond that date. But at the close of business today, the firm is going into a more complete shutdown, due to a withdrawal of bank financing.
“Last night, we received notice via email that Howrey is closing as of today, because CitiBank refuses to pay the payroll,” one source reported. “CitiBank has also refused to pay our PTO [paid time off], and our pension contributions.”
“Citibank has closed the door on Howrey operations today, more than a month before the May 9th date listed on WARN notices,” a second tipster confirmed. “No PTO, pensions will be paid out.”
UPDATE (6 PM): Citi takes issue with Howrey’s take on events. From a Citi spokesperson: “We are deeply disappointed in Howrey’s mischaracterization of the situation. Citi is not responsible for the employment practices of a client and has acted in a professional manner throughout this process.”
I asked a client how things were going at work – or not-going. She’s a junior at a big firm where it’s been dead slow for the whole year she’s been there and partners are starting to flee.
“Not horrible,” she said.
That’s a not-uncommon sentiment from to people in her position. As a junior, you’re asking for not-much. You’ve realized law school was a mistake – and the thought of your loans makes you queasy. If you get through the day without being criticized or given some god-awful assignment, you can go home and try to sleep. That’s a good day.
Not-horrible means not-unbearable, even if you hate what you’re doing, see no way out and cry alone in your office.
Not-horrible is not-unemployed. Better to not-complain.
One junior associate client has a corporate headhunter friend, who asked him to write something down and commit it to memory:
This has not been a great weekend for the University of Pittsburgh community. As many of you know, the school’s college basketball team choked disappointed fans with an early round exit from the NCAA tournament.
You should always avoid comparing a school’s basketball team with its law school, but it appears that things aren’t going much better at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. While there is some evidence that the legal economy is recovering, the improving fortunes have not trickled all the way down to 3Ls searching for work….
Tomorrow, March 15, the end will finally come for Howrey. Later this month, the law firm of David J. Stern, formerly known as Florida’s foreclosure king, will shut its doors.
This week, we’ve got another sizable law firm announcing its dissolution. Obviously not everybody is catching on to this economic recovery. While some firms are doling out the green, in the form of spring bonuses, other firms are handing out pink slips.
Today’s law firm obituary also comes from South Florida. Yes, we know, shocking that Florida is still suffering the effects of the recession. But there are another 280 people down there who will soon need to find new jobs….
This year The Apprentice, a television show in which contestants compete for the privilege of working for Donald Trump, features 16 who are down on their luck, having lost previous jobs or otherwise having to start anew. No fewer than five of them are lawyers.
– from Trouble with the Law, an article about American law school graduates “finding that their chosen career is less lucrative than they had hoped,” in The Economist.
To steal a line from Sports Illustrated, I must bring you this week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us.
Law students are struggling to find jobs; this we know. But what I didn’t know until this very day was that law students are also struggling to find the basic professional necessities. Like clothes. That’s right, clothing drives are not just for homeless people and impoverished third-world children. Not anymore.
The good people at Duquesne University School of Law are putting together a clothing drive to help out their first year law students get the professional clothing they need for interview season. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to give your used clothing to distressed 1Ls in need of assistance…
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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 six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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