Not too long ago – you know, when Biglaw firms were begging law students to work for them, no one cared about law school transparency, and having a J.D. guaranteed you a long and prosperous career – signing yourself up for six figures of crushing law school debt didn’t seem like such a big deal. Nor was it unheard of back then for first-year associates to buy nice big houses. But in the aftermath of the recession, many attorneys have to face the now onerous consequences of decisions they made in better economic times.
In today’s Career Center survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, we want to know how your debt currently affects your decision on where you work or want to work. Is it Biglaw or bust? Or are you able to turn a blind eye to your debt and find more compelling reasons to work where you want to?
Please take our short survey and then check in next week for the results.
In Tuesday’s survey, we asked whether you left your firm after collecting your 2010 year-end bonus (paid in December for 43% of respondents).
About 14% of respondents reported jumping ship after their bonus checks cleared, while another 8% were in such a hurry to leave that they couldn’t bother waiting around for their bonus money.
That means the vast majority of respondents, 77%, are staying put — at least for now. About 9% are sticking around a little longer in the hope that their firms up the ante with a spring bonus payment. Another 18% say they aren’t leaving, but sure wish they could. Finally, 50% of all respondents report that they are staying at their firms because they are actually quite content at the moment.
Which class years and practice groups are most likely to see post-bonus departures?
Earlier this month, we surveyed you to find out how satisfied you were with your 2010 year-end bonus. Half of all associates whose firms had announced bonus payments reported dissatisfaction with their year-end bonuses.
In today’s survey, we want to find out how many of you are actually going to put your money where your mouth is and leave your firm after collecting your bonus (whether due to dissatisfaction with your bonus or just general unhappiness with your firm). Or has all the recent buzz about springtime bonuses encouraged you to stick around for a while? As always, your responses are kept completely confidential.
Not surprisingly, the top reason for putting in extra billable hours was that people just had work that needed to get done, even though no one specifically asked them to work. But it likely also had something to do with the fact that 32% of respondents who worked said their firm does not recognize MLK Day as an official firm holiday. Instead, some of these firms consider it a “floating holiday,” meaning that attorneys can either choose to take a day off on MLK Day or on another floating holiday.
What were some other reasons given for working on MLK Day?
When it comes to working on holidays, we all know that Biglaw attorneys are some of the worst offenders. In today’s Career Center survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, tell us if you were off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or if it was just business as usual. Then check back later this week for the survey results.
In a previous post, we revealed that 73% of respondents to our survey met their minimum billable requirements last year. Today, we find out whether associates were satisfied with receiving 2009-level bonuses for a busier 2010.
After a year like 2009 (aka the worst year ever for Biglaw), 2010 was bound to be better. According to the nearly 1,000 survey responses we received, 2010 did in fact turn out to be a busier year for most associates. An impressive 73% of respondents hit their firm’s minimum billable hours requirements or unofficial billable hours expectations, which ranged from 1,600 to 2,200 billable hours. You can find a breakdown of the results by minimum billable hours required or expected, as well as by practice area, after the jump.
Stay tuned for our next post, addressing associate satisfaction with 2010 bonus payments. In the meantime, you can learn more about billable hours and bonuses at the nation’s top law firms on the Career Center, hosted by Lateral Link.
Every now and then we conduct reader surveys, to learn a little more about you. Today’s short survey — just two to four questions, depending on your responses — focuses on what you do and where you do it.
The survey is anonymous. The results will be used by us for a variety of purposes, both business and editorial (e.g., figuring out which stories to cover).
One short explanatory note. For the question about where you’re based geographically, the four domestic regions — Northeast, Midwest, South, and West — are based on the U.S. Census Bureau designations (which you can review here).
By most accounts, law firms had a stronger year in 2010 than in 2009 (although you wouldn’t know it from the disappointing bonuses that many of them paid out). Did a busier year translate into plenty of billables for all associates? In this week’s survey, we want to know whether you met your firm’s minimum billable hours requirement (or unofficial billable hours expectation), and how happy you are with your bonus for the amount of hours you billed.
Please take our short survey below (we keep responses completely confidential), and we’ll bring you the results next week. In the meantime, you can compare billable hours requirements between the leading law firms at the Career Center, hosted by Lateral Link.
Every now and then we conduct reader surveys, to learn a little more about you. Today’s survey, aimed at practicing lawyers, seeks information about your practice area.
The survey is anonymous. The results will be used by us for a variety of purposes, some of them business-related and some of them editorially oriented (e.g., figuring out which practice areas we should cover more).
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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.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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