Job Searches

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.

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to [email protected]

Dear ATL,

I have 12 years of state and local tax experience.  I am currently a Tax Manager at a large company.  I have managed the second largest tax audit defense group in the country.  My current [law school] GPA is 3.4, with no curve.  Do you think I can obtain employment with a midsized or large firm?

– Quit Playin’ Games With My Audit

Dear Quit Playin’ Games With My Audit,

Generally speaking, law firms wet the bed when a new associate rolls up to the firm and announces that he or she wants to do tax. Nobody wants to do tax, ever, and if you apply to firms with a cover letter stating that you want to do tax AND have legitimate tax experience (not just taking Tax in law school), the lights will dim, the disco ball will drop, Dream Weaver will start playing, and interviews will be yours for the picking….

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There will likely come a time in your legal career when you decide to look for another job – and for the majority of lawyers, there will be many of those points.  Whether you are ready to leave your current job or just want to test the waters, job seekers should be cautious about the search process.  Unfortunately, many attorneys would rather remain unhappy in their current jobs than search for a new job, for fear of getting caught by their employer.

Even though there is no foolproof plan, and there is always a risk of getting caught before securing a new position, this week’s Career Center Expert Insights article provides some tips on how you can conduct an effective job search, while keeping the search under wraps from your current employer.

Click here to see the tips, and here to see other recent articles from the Career Center.

This article was prepared by T.J. Duane of Lateral Link. If you are considering making a lateral job move, feel free to contact him at [email protected].

Ed. Note: Will the Lost Generation ever find its way back into Biglaw? This new column is written by a member of the Lost Generation who initially was thrown off of the Biglaw bandwagon but was able to get back on, and is now trying to hang on to his Biglaw second chance.

When I was no-offered in the summer of 2009, I felt worthless. I am not used to failing in significant endeavors. I prefer to reserve failure my smaller undertakings, you know the ones that are not worth over six figures a year. And this particular failure had an even harsher sting because I felt like an ineffective sell-out.

I had started law school with the fresh and heady eyes of a bachelor of arts who had no employable skills and wanted to save the world. I would wield the law as a tool to empower the weak and oppressed. I was seriously regulating my debt and pinching pennies so that it would be manageable with the $50K salary that I expected.

That was before I found out exactly how much Biglaw associates make per week. My public interest façade didn’t even put up a fight. I think I registered for O.C.I. the next day.

One year later, I was offended by lunches that did not cost at least $20, and I was happy to represent any client in any capacity for any purpose as long as I made enough money so that the amount I paid in taxes exceeded any of my pre-law salaries. I was no longer worried about taking out the maximum amount of student loans available to me. The days of conservatively accepting only part of my loans, and pinching pennies, were gone.

Sadly, I started spending before I actually secured post-graduate employment. Does that sound familiar to anyone…

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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…

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What you are about to see will entertain you. It will make you feel good about yourself. It will make you thankful that, despite whatever hurdles you have faced in your life, it never came to this.

In fact, the first comment on the YouTube clip I’m about to show you was written by the person who posted the video. It says simply “it has come to this…”

And it has. Ladies and Gentleman, I bring the video resume and hip-hop stylings of a would-be lawyer…

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Ed. Note: Will the Lost Generation ever find its way back into Biglaw? If recent law school graduates can’t find a Biglaw job straight out of school, or if they were laid off from their initial Biglaw job, the chances of them having a Biglaw career seem unlikely.

But not impossible. This new column is written by a member of the Lost Generation who initially was thrown off of the Biglaw bandwagon but was able to get back on, and is now trying to hang on to his Biglaw second chance.

The first thing many of you must wonder when some new writer infiltrates your daily ATL intake is, “Who the hell is this girl or guy?” Thus, before I begin telling you how it is in my world, let me tell you who I am.

I am T-Fifty. I go by that name because I have learned the importance of law school rankings in the legal industry. I graduated from a T50 law school, and that ranking has now consumed my identity in the legal world. I could tell you all the things I’ve told Mark Zuckerberg and his business partners, but you wouldn’t care. Not when I’ve got T-Fifty emblazoned on my face. It is the way of things.

My journey begins the summer prior to my graduation from my T50 law school. I was no-offered by my Biglaw summer employer, and I soon learned that I was part of the Lost Generation, doomed to be excluded from Biglaw and the accompanying paychecks forever. I will admit that I was distraught. I faced a mountain of debt that I had no chance of paying off….

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For the second time in a month, the people at the American Bar Association are making noises about taking their role in regulating law schools more seriously. Earlier this month, the ABA’s “recession czar,” Allan Tanenbaum, criticized the new law school opening at Belmont.

Today the National Law Journal reports that new ABA President Steve Zach is telling law school deans he is considering requiring law school to disclose employment and cost statistics to admitted students.

A victory for law school transparency? Let’s not start sucking each other popsicles just yet. But it does look like the ABA is at least considering doing something to stop the blatant professional misrepresentation being engaged in by some of America’s law schools…

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So you want to go to law school....

It has been a while since we’ve had one of these cut-rate animation movies discouraging people from going to law school. There have been some great ones in the past: A Law School Carol springs to mind, as well as Don’t Go To Law School.

There was a time when I thought little video clips like the two above would actually help someone. I thought that if people won’t listen to the shrill voices of people like me, they might take advice from Lego-lookalikes speaking in a dull monotone.

But those were the heady days of 2009, when the craptastic state of the legal economy finally started to seep into the consciousness of prospective law students and lawyers. Now, thanks to the Great Recession, there’s less of a need to educate prospective law students about what they’re getting themselves into. Now, these little videos aren’t important teachable moments, they’re simply fun opportunities to make fun of people who fail to look out for themselves. They are opportunities for those who have been through the law school wringer to sit back and enjoy themselves — and exchange knowing glances among fellow colleagues.

The one we just came across today hits exactly the right note…

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Today is the official release date of Law & Reorder, a new book by Deborah Epstein Henry, a leading consultant to the legal profession. Henry, whom we’ve interviewed and written about before, is an expert on such topics as workplace restructuring, talent management, work/life balance, and the retention and promotion of lawyers — all topics that are covered in her book.

We chatted with Henry on Friday over the phone, about the changes taking place in the legal profession, whether they’re good news or bad news, and how law students and lawyers can navigate in this new environment….

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