Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are Things Heating Up?

Don't get too excited. I just had to make note of some observations.  I feel very strongly that we will never have a legal industry like that of pre-2008 again.  But, from my vast network of attorneys and attorney friends, I've noticed that there are more interviews in the last two months than before.  But it's not for full-time associate positions paying $75K+.  The legal industry is becoming creative.  They are offering part-time positions to attorneys.  Sometimes the pay is low, but these are jobs that I haven't seen much until recently. I have heard of people getting interviews for these type of positions.  Mind you, my friends have been out of school for a long time--so I can't say that this is good news for new grads.
Also, I have heard of and I know of big firms hiring people for what used to be called an associate position.  Is that confusing?  Well, it should be.  With these jobs, you aren't considered an associate because you're not going to become a partner (which is frankly more honest since you weren't going to become a partner anyhow as an associate).  You work as hard as an associate, but you are paid below $100K and you typically won't get an interview for a position such as this unless you have at least 5 years of experience. In short, it's the big firms' way of getting more for less.
The other type of jobs that I have been hearing about are those associated with Electronic Discovery.  Remember, with the wave of the future being outsourcing, these Electronic Discovery Companies will be making out like bandits.  These companies offer temporary jobs and a few project manager positions. I have received at least 5 calls for temp jobs in the last two weeks.  The pay was $30/hour and less and for jobs requiring 70 hours a week... so I declined.
I'm not all bad news. A job is a job, right?
But you don't need a crystal ball to see that we, as a huge group of people, have devalued ourselves so much that the legal industry had to give.  And it's giving in such a way that will result in less benefits, less pay, no stability and more sweat.
So things are heating up, but it won't be enough to absorb the overabundance of attorneys.  So, nothing has changed.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I tend to have some good insight when it comes to the industry I was blessed to join so long ago.


  1. O.K. I quit. This is complete bullshit. I think I'll just go live my life in squalor, and Sallie Mae can go fuck herself.

  2. There has been a ton of legal work over the last two years. I have had no problem getting clients. But, then again, I am a civil trial lawyer. I cannot comment on transactional work.

    Back in 2001 we had non-associate positions at biglaw. We called them staff attorneys or non-partership track associates. It has always been a good gig for those who can do the math on the odds of attaining partnership. You may even see some movement from the partnership track associates over to the staff positions as they are passed over for partnership.

    You have to ask yourself if you really want to be a partner? I have known associates pulling in more than the firm partners at the same firm. If your firm has a "you kill it, you eat it" policy there really is no need to give up all of your free time for a partnership.

  3. Well... If one is not to become a partner, i would assume that he is going to work only so much. These new non-associate positions are requiring you to work as hard as you would if you expected partnership--but your salary and future is capped. It's not a bad place to be, but it's similar to the 160K jobs of yesteryear--without that salary.

  4. On the one hand, I'm glad to hear that things are picking up (as is evident from my receiving a few cold calls as well), but the continued emphasis on only taking people who have two to five years of experience is hellish when nobody has been especially interested in training new attorneys for the past few years.

    I hope I never make partner.


    You will like this video. A Columbia Ph.D.

  6. Thanks! I am totally posting that!



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