Job Searches

Think back when you were five years old and learning how to swim. A parent or an older sibling probably took you to a pool or pond, told you to hold your breath, and then pushed you in. Your head went underwater, you flailed your arms, and swallowed enough water to fill a gallon jug. Eventually, you made yourself learn how to tread water and keep your head above water.

Hope you enjoyed that trip down memory lane; if you are a law student, you will be learning how to swim on your first days at work — and fast.

There is no substitution for learning on the job, but there are some things future associates should consider before taking the plunge into the deep end. Check out the following tips, courtesy of Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, and use them as your flotation device during your first few days as a law firm associate….

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Can you name the Biglaw firms with great lifestyles, supportive and friendly partners, lots of mentors, a commitment to parenting, salaries high enough to pay off your debts in 6 years with no pressure to develop business, and a guarantee of partnership (and frequent sabbaticals)? This tough question cannot be answered. There is no perfect law firm — and despite the warm fuzzy noise of recruiting, every law firm has strengths and limitations.

You have chosen a demanding field where clients expect the best advice from the best lawyers. The explosion in associate compensation caused significant and permanent changes in law firms’ expectations for new associate performance, the tolerance for slow starters, and the likelihood of promotion. This generation of new lawyers will work harder, compete harder, and be under greater pressure to contribute (produce business) than was ever present in the past. That’s the reality of practice in the new millennium. But the desire to find the best law firm in an imperfect world is a legitimate quest.

Before deciding on which firm to join, consider these tips, provided by Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former hiring partner….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Finding the Perfect Firm – Does Work Life Balance Exist in Biglaw?”

It’s hard out there for a 3L. That’s essentially the finding of our reader poll from a few weeks ago. Not many employers are interviewing third-year law students this fall.

But there are employment opportunities out there for enterprising third-year law students. We’ve recently mentioned judicial clerkships, the Justice Department Honors Program, and the Presidential Management Fellows Program.

Today we bring you information about another program that’s hiring graduating law students. The good news: the work/life balance is good, as are the benefits and the pay (six figures). The bad news: these positions aren’t easy to land.

So, what program are we talking about?

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If learning to do this was mandatory in 3L year, law schools would be doing you a favor.

The stripper with the heart of gold who shakes what her momma gave her to make it through school would be a Disney movie if it didn’t require so much T&A. We know that “I’m doing it to pay for school” is the go-to line whenever you meet a stripper in a situation where she’s expected to keep her clothes on. Most of the women who claim that they need to strip to pay for school haven’t actually read anything since their last visit to the clinic. But for a fair number of strippers, tuition or debt repayment is a chief motivator.

Most women who go to law school think that their advanced education will buy them out of taking their clothes off for money (unless, you know, it’s partner money). But as a practical reality, stripper skills are very useful. It’s a job that can be done while in school or immediately after that pays a lot of money for relatively brainless work. It’s no more exploitative than working a law firm job. And in this economy, that law firm job is probably only available to the few women who are too ugly to strip or are willing to put out.

Hell, as we’ve previously reported, some strip clubs are even proactively screening for advanced degrees.

For today’s tale of a lawyer cum stripper, we have a young lady who has ended up stripping to pay her bills and law school debts. It’s not a sob story, though; she says that in one sense the job is less hostile than any law office she’s worked in…

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From the Bar to the Pole

Martin Luther dropped out of law school and he did just fine for himself.

Not all of our coverage of law schools is depressing; we bring you happy stories as well. In recent weeks, we’ve written about one law school dean’s creative (and healthy) student outreach program, a law student demonstrating kindness to animals, and someone having fun — perhaps too much fun? — in the library.

Let’s continue the good cheer. Back in the spring, we wrote about a law student who was thinking of dropping out of school. He sought our advice — and, surprisingly enough, my colleague Elie Mystal advised this fellow to stay in school (even though Elie is generally not a fan of legal education).

Some commenters disagreed with Elie (shocker), and urged the kid to drop out. But now we bring you an update suggesting that perhaps Elie’s advice was sound….

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The job market remains challenging for graduating law students. Here at Above the Law, we try to do what we can to bring opportunities to the attention of 3Ls. In recent weeks, we’ve discussed judicial clerkships and the DOJ Honors Program.

Granted, clerkships and the Honors Program are opportunities that are (1) fairly obvious and (2) extremely competitive. Some of you might be asking: Have any other bright ideas, Team ATL?

As a matter of fact, we do….

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* In November, the Supreme Court will decide whether our Fourth Amendment rights come subject to advances in technology. I, for one, welcome our new Orwellian overlords. [New York Times]

* What do you get when two wireless carriers with craptastic coverage and service that goes down more than a porn star have plans to merge? Who knows, but AT&T says it’s a good thing. [Bloomberg]

* Class actions are pretty pricey, so it would be great if Groupon offered its employees a special on overtime pay. That daily deal would reach the required minimum. [Crain's Chicago Business]

* Would that Stephen McDaniel had once posted online about where he would hide a “hypothetical” body. The search for the remains of Lauren Giddings continues this week. [Macon Telegraph]

* Stephen Zack, immediate past president of the ABA, is donating $800K to his alma mater to promote diversity. Promoting employment is apparently still on the back burner. [Miami Herald]

* Do fat people have rights under the ADA? White Castle, if your customers are too large to fit into your booths, the solution isn’t to send them coupons for more fast food. [New York Post]

Today is Friday, September 9, 2011. Do you know why today is special? Here’s the answer:

Yes, that’s right — we’re smack dab in the middle of the clerkship application season. Today was the first date and time (10 a.m. Eastern) when judges could contact applicants to schedule interviews, pursuant to the official law clerk hiring plan.

Let’s talk more about the process — and hear from those of you who are going through it….

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* What did you think of the way Obama was pimping out his reelection jobs bill last night? People were probably more excited about the football game that followed. [Los Angeles Times]

* Congratulations to Stephanie D. Thacker of West Virginia. She was nominated to fill a seat on the Fourth Circuit. If she doesn’t have a family circle, things will go well in her confirmation hearing. [State Journal]

* Money might not grow on trees, but it certainly grows on financial reform legislation. Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act, the pockets of Biglawyers will continue to be lined with cash for years to come. [New York Times]

* Skinnygirl is supposed to be “the margarita you can trust,” but now the company is facing two class actions. I’ve never tried it (duh), but it’s never good to put your trust in alcohol. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* If you really want a job, you can start packing for South Dakota. A bit deserted for me. In fact, I think you might need some oxen and a covered wagon to practice out there. [WSJ Law Blog]

Stephen Venuto

People came in wanting to work, which is a shift. Students’ primary goal three or four years ago was to ensure they had a terrific social experience. They short-changed themselves a little.

Stephen Venuto, head of on-campus recruiting for Biglaw firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, commenting on the new environment of summer associate programs during the legal recession.

This year, Orrick made offers of full-time employment to 47 of 52 summer associates. The firm’s 90 percent offer rate was at the lower end of the spectrum of the 17 national firms surveyed by Am Law.

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