Back in February of this year, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) announced a minor change to its recruiting guidelines. I was underwhelmed. New associates are graduating law school in a terrible job market, firms are sick of being forced to hire people two years before they know their staffing needs, and NALP is fiddling around with the open offer period? Make sure those deck chairs are properly arranged before we all drown!
Back in February I called for a complete overhaul of the fall recruiting process, and only the crickets heard me cry myself to sleep that night.
But today we’ve received word that a firm most of you have never heard of, and a school more known for its women’s basketball team than its law school, are teaming up to come up with a truly new approach to hiring law school graduates. Will it work? Will it catch on? At this point, who cares?
It’s a new idea — not some twice-baked, refried, reheated idea that wasn’t all that good the first time around….
I hope all of you had a fine long weekend. I also hope at least some of you have some skills at building infrastructure.
But maybe you have some legal skills. If you do, the market for your talents is ever-so-slightly recovering. The latest jobs report shows that the American economy stinks as a whole, but less so for lawyers. Am Law Daily reports:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment report for August was released early Friday and the news was still a bit glum overall — the U.S. economy lost a total of 54,000 jobs. But the news for lawyers and legal industry employees was a bit brighter.
The legal sector handed out 1,000 jobs last month, marking the second straight month of improved numbers for the industry.
Martin Luther dropped out of law school - and so can you.
At what point should you give up on your dream of becoming a lawyer? It’s a question on many people’s minds lately. Whether they were laid off during the recession and haven’t been able to get back in, or if they’ve just graduated law school to the triumphant sounds of crickets, people are wondering when it’s time to stop throwing good money (and effort) after bad.
It’s a question some people start asking before they even graduate from law school. With the school year getting underway, returning law students are once again wondering whether or not they made the right choice when they matriculated to law school in the first place.
Earlier this week, Lat received this question from a 2L at a top-eight law school:
Hi David. I’ve got a dilemma and it’s really eating me up and I was wondering if you could give me some advice. Here are the salient points:
* I’m at [redacted] — an awesome school.
* It’s a crappy economy and I don’t anticipate getting a job anytime soon.
* My 1L grades are A-, B+, B, B, B-, B-, B-, B-.
* I’m not sure I really want to spend my life being a lawyer. It seems like such a boring profession.
* I think I would be really happy being a public interest attorney, like working at the DA’s office or on Capitol Hill. I get excited about those jobs — but they pay nothing and are super-hard to get.
* I’m about $70K in debt — so I’ve invested so much!
People tell me that a JD is a great credential to get. I just don’t know if it’s worth it to finish the degree. It’s so darn expensive. Realistically, if I stay the course I’ll graduate with $170K in debt. If I don’t finish, I’ll never have the degree and the prospects that come with it.
I feel that long-term, over a 40-year career, it could be good to have the law degree — it’s from [redacted], not from a lower-ranked school.
Just a reminder that the 2010 summer associate survey results have been incorporated into the Summer Associate Program sections within each of the Firm Snapshots. So be sure to visit the Career Center, where you’ll find inside information about the summer programs at all the major law firms. Here are some examples:
Lunches at this firm are limited to 10 “traditional” lunches budgeted at $65 each, and 20 “casual” lunches budgeted at $15 each. But if the wining and dining, long hours, and BlackBerrys aren’t your thing, the firm gives a few summer associates the opportunity to spend an additional four to six weeks on a public service project at their full firm salary.
With 93% of summer associates receiving offers in 2009, no start date deferrals, a summer associate weekend retreat on Catalina Island, and a trip to Disneyland, this firm has its summer associates feeling like they’re summering at the happiest Biglaw firm on earth.
Unsociable types need not apply to this firm, which summer associates confirm lives up to its “very social” and “fratty” reputation. In addition to a full calendar of after-work events, a summer associate weekend retreat is held in Beverly Hills for more socializing, schmoozing, and a bit of training.
Summer associates who share the same entrepreneurial spirit as this firm will thrive in the free-market assignment system, where summers are in control of their workload and who they work with, and have no qualms about needing to “reach out to attorneys for assignments, mentorship and feedback.”
Summer associates have to “[b]e prepared to be on top of [their] game all the time” at this firm, where social events are as equally important as work product quality.
For information on summer programs and associate life at all the top firms, visit the Career Center.
Earlier this week, Conor Friedersdorf, writing for The Atlantic, poured a big bottle of haterade all over the legal profession. More specifically, he criticized the way “Ivy League” lawyers are recruited, and the “palpable sense of entitlement” they exhibit even when they don’t take Biglaw bucks and instead work for the government. Here’s the set up:
The details of how elite law and business consulting firms recruit astonish me every time I hear them. Even getting an interview often requires attending an Ivy League professional school or a very few top tier equivalents. Folks who succeed in that round are invited to spend a summer working at the firm, the most sane aspect of the process.
But subsequently, they participate in sell events where they’re plied with food and alcohol in the most lavish settings imaginable: five star resort hotels, fine cigar bars, the priciest restaurants.
And here’s the money shot, one that is careening around the legal blogosphere like Billy Joel trying to get back from the Hamptons before the hurricane hits:
Though it isn’t defensible, it is unsurprising that a lot of people who eschew offers to work at these firms, favoring public sector work instead, imagine that they are making an enormous personal sacrifice by taking government work. The palpable sense of entitlement some of these public sector folks exude is owed partly to how few of “our best and brightest” do eschew the big firm route (due partly to increasing debt levels among today’s graduates, no doubt).
Really? You want to do this now? You want to talk smack about the people on the bottom rung of this totem pole, while willfully ignoring the clients, partners, law schools, and state governments that generate huge sums of wealth off the backs of the palpably entitled?
Fine. Let me take off my glasses, and we’ll step outside…
The class of 2013 probably won’t return to Above the Law in full force until after Labor Day. But a couple of comments on last night’s LeBron James post alerted us to the fact that some of the new 1Ls are here with us now:
Maybe I’m missing something, but on what basis does the court in Washington, DC exercise jurisdiction over Gloria and LeBron? Shouldn’t their lawyers raise this issue before trying to dismiss the suit as meritless?
With OCI in full swing, you should check out the firms below to see if it is one of the firms you have a callback interview with. Wondering how summer associates rated their summer experience at the firms you may be interviewing with? Check out the Career Center for valuable insight on summer programs, as well as firm-specific information that will be helpful in your interviews.
Out of the office by 6:00 p.m. and no weekend work faced the summer associates at this firm. When they weren’t working on “realistic work assignments,” summer associates attended several social events including a retreat at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta.
Vegans and sedentary individuals may not fit in with the summer associates at this firm. While summer associates commend the firm for being “open and honest,” a number of 2009 summer associates were asked to accept firm-sponsored fellowships and defer their start dates until January 2012.
Summer associates at this firm receive continuous feedback on work assignments and attend writing seminars, mock trials, and corporate transaction workshops. In addition to not getting work stuffed down their throats, summer associates brag that they attended far more events than their peers at other firms.
This firm reduced the length of its summer program and cancelled summer programs in a couple of its offices in 2010 and 2011. Summer associates fortunate enough to get a summer gig here usually worked on 11 to 15 assignments and are encouraged to work in different practice groups.
The good ol’ days are still alive and well at this firm, where summer associates get to live it up on yacht cruises and get prime seats to baseball games, symphony concerts, and musicals. The tradeoff for all the social events is the occasional “long night in the office,” but summer associates typically leave the office between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
For information on summer programs and associate life at all the top firms, visit the Career Center.
[S]tudents should embark upon a legal education with their eyes open; the job market is difficult, and likely to remain so. Legal education is not, as the comments of some would suggest, an entitlement program….
[T]he real value of legal education is not, and never has been, primarily economic. It’s not about money; it’s about freedom. Legal education gives students what 99.9 percent of humanity yearns for but is denied: control over one’s own life. It is a license to make of your life what you may, to live the American dream to its fullest.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a true contestant for the title of most depressing job offered to a law student. Sure, there have been a lot of jobs that offer $10 an hour, or even $0 an hour, for legal work. But at least those jobs were offering the opportunity to put long years of legal education to some sort of use.
No, the most depressing jobs for would-be lawyers in this economy are jobs they could have easily gotten before they went to law school. Or college. Really, the most depressing job I’ve seen appeared last year, when University of Texas law students were given the opportunity to do some babysitting for extra money. That’s an opportunity you present to responsible high school students, not students at the fifteenth-best law school in the country.
If you thought those days were behind us, think again. Take a look at the job that was blasted out yesterday to students at the other law school ranked #15, UCLA Law.
Traffic in L.A. is notoriously horrible, and now one UCLA law student might profit from his or her stop-and-go driving skills…
We’ve completely updated the Summer Associate Program sections in each of the Firm Snapshots with the 2010 summer associate survey results and the latest news. With on-campus interviewing already underway at most schools, law students won’t want to miss getting the inside scoop on the highlights – and lowlights – of each firm’s summer program.
So head on over to the Career Center to see how the firm you summered at, or want to interview with, stacks up. Highlights include:
Summer associates at this litigation powerhouse brag that their “workload is super light,” completing one to five assignments over the course of the 12-week summer program, and typically spending about five hours a day on billable work. Just don’t expect to be making the lunch rounds at the city’s trendiest restaurants. Summers eat in at the firm’s dining room, which serves free but “excellent” lunch daily.
It certainly pays to have high-profile clients at this firm, which treats its summer associates to unique social events like the Tony Awards and the NBA Draft.
The line between summer and full-time associates is blurred at this firm, with summers “put[ting] in well over 80 hours” during some weeks to complete 15 or more assignments during the eight-week summer program. Despite their high work demands, these summer associates still find the time to be do-gooders by volunteering to cook at the Ronald McDonald House for kids and their families.
The good old days never left this firm. Summer associates typically bill about four hours a day on assignments, leave at 5:30 p.m., play softball at Fenway Park, and still get 100% offers. But you might want to think about taking an extended post-bar trip, since you might not start work on time as a first-year associate.
No complaints at this firm, which gives summer associates “exactly the work that they want” and still provides a “very generous” $65 lunch budget in New York. Be sure to brush up on your foreign language skills; one-third of the summer class gets to spend up to three weeks working in one of the firm’s overseas offices
For information on the summer programs at all the top firms visit the Career Center.
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
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