Learn why law firms are reluctant to hire unemployed lateral attorneys in this article.

If you are looking for an attorney position with a law firm when you are unemployed, you have an uphill battle. In the largest and most sophisticated markets, it can be nearly impossible to find a new position if you are unemployed. There are several reasons that law firms do not like to consider unemployed candidates for the openings they have. It is important that you understand why law firms tend to aggressively avoid unemployed attorneys. You are no different than someone who has been thrown of out of a primitive tribe of your ancestors thousands of years ago. You are completely alone and have no one to defend or support you. Thrown out, you are considered an untouchable by many firms. The primitive instincts—in which others want nothing to do with you because someone else does not—take hold.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

At the outset, I want to be clear that none of this may be pleasant to read—but you need to understand these reasons if you are going to beat them. You need to know what to say and how to address each of these criticisms.
  1. They Believe You Were Fired—Why Else Would You Choose to Be Unemployed?
If you are not currently working, most law firms that see your application will presume you were fired. They will not be too interested in explanations about why you are not working and will quickly reach this conclusion—regardless of what you say in your cover letter.