Top 10 Reasons Why Older Attorneys Have a More Difficult Time Getting Law Firm Jobs: Why Law Firms Prefer Younger Attorneys With Less Experience

When I first started practicing as a legal recruiter, I was amazed at how difficult it was for older attorneys to find jobs. Partners from major American law firms would frequently call me and express an interest in moving to a different law firm. The problem was that most of these attorneys did not want to switch firms, but they had no choice as they were being "forced out" of their current firms.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

In one case, I remember an attorney from one of the ten largest law firms in the country who was labeled as a "partner" and yet was making the same amount of money as a second-year associate. I saw many examples of this sort of thing taking place the longer I worked as a recruiter. One particularly egregious example was when I saw a large Los Angeles law firm offer an unemployed real estate partner a salary that was one-half of the amount a first-year associate at that firm would receive.

"Are you kidding?" I asked the law firm.

"No, we are quite serious," they said.

"Why?" I asked. "That's humiliating."

"We're paying him that because we know that he will take it, and we are the only firm that is going to hire him."

To my astonishment, the partner took the job.