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The Standard in Attorney Search and Placement
Question: A recruiter I was dealing with sent my resume, without my authorization or knowledge, to Law Firm X. At or around the same time, I answered a blind advertisement placed by that firm and received an interview. After the interview occurred, I mentioned it to the recruiter, and was told about the resume they submitted.
The recruiter then contacted someone at the firm they had dealt with in the past, told the firm about me, and I was subsequently rejected for the job. Is the recruiter liable for interference with prospective economic advantage or breach of contract (for contacting the law firm without authorization)? READ MORE >
Question: I have some upcoming interviews, all at major firms with year-round casual dress. What do I wear? READ MORE >
Question: I graduated from Columbia and have been working as a corporate lawyer in a big downtown firm for the last six months. For personal reasons (my significant other, whom I met only a couple of months before graduating from law school), I want to move to the Bay Area as soon as possible. I have several questions: READ MORE >
Question: I am a first-year associate from a top-five law school, where I earned some distinction. I am miserable at my present position in the corporate department of a mid-size New York City law firm. The firm is a great place to work but I could not devise a worse career for me than corporate law. I wanted to become a lawyer to read, write, analyze and work with international issues; not photocopy, insert commas, collate, collect signatures, and harass opposing counsel for by-laws. I want to go to work and read for comprehension for at least some part of my 13-hour day.
Childish bitterness aside, I know that I have to pay my dues; but I am building a house I do not want to live in and I am tired of crying myself to sleep. We make the "firm decision" fresh out of our first year in law school. I knew nothing then.
Over the two years following that decision, my interest has grown in international trade, environmental law, antitrust and international litigation and arbitration. In fact, my firm accommodated those interests by providing me with a steady diet of made-up assignments for my 13-weeks summer with them.
Now I am interviewing again and the bedtime tears have ceased. Please advise on the best way to present myself and this career change. READ MORE >
Question: I have just accepted an offer to work as an associate next fall for a major New York law firm. In the wake of the associate layoffs at other firms, I was wondering how safe my position would be if my firm decided to clean house. READ MORE >
Question: I am a well-regarded associate at a large law firm, which is giving a sizeable bonus this year. The bonus is based on each associate's billable hours. My billable hours are low because of the downturn in the economy.
Overall, I am very happy with my firm. I appreciate that many firms are not only withholding bonuses but also laying off associates. But I am not thrilled about losing out on this bonus, which to some extent I view as deferred salary. Since I don't want to leave my firm, is there anything constructive I can do to express my displeasure? READ MORE >
Question: I am a second-year litigation associate at a top New York City firm. I graduated in the top 3 percent of my class from a second-tier law school and I clerked for a federal district judge right after law school. I have been at the firm for six months and I am miserable.
Although I knew I would have to work many hours, it has been much more onerous than I expected. I am married and I have two small children that I want to spend more time with. Apart from the hours, I enjoy my job and the people that I work with.
I know from reading your previous columns that, particularly as a litigator, it is too soon for me to move in-house. Is there anything else I can do without shooting my career in the foot? READ MORE >
Question: I am a junior associate in a mid-sized firm. For a variety of reasons, we are suffering an exodus of junior associates. Some juniors do not believe that the firm offers them a future.
Despite this, I am one of the true believers in this firm. I'd like to start a junior associates' committee so that we may address different issues facing us, and possibly solve them. Any guidelines that you may provide? READ MORE >
Question: I'm an associate at a mid-sized firm. Rumor has it we are about to merge with a BIG national firm. Should the associates be worried? Don't associates normally get cut in these mergers? Is it realistic to think that the firms will display some degree of loyalty? Chances are, if I applied to the big firm directly, I wouldn't get hired. How much does that matter? READ MORE >
Question: I graduated from a top law school a few years ago. I accepted an offer from the firm that I worked at during my second summer and began working in the fall after my law school graduation. I left the firm a little over a year later due to medical complications related to my pregnancy. Now, after being home with my child for several years, I wish to return to work. How hopeless is my situation, and what should I do? READ MORE >
Question: How do headhunters get the names of people they contact?
I am a third-year corporate associate with a large New York firm. I know that most members of my class are frequently contacted by headhunters. For some reason, I never have been. Should I be worried? READ MORE >
Question: I just passed the NY bar exam, have some limited legal experience and securities qualifications, but haven't had the luxury of a summer associate job with a major law firm. Would I be better off knocking on their doors one by one, or should I submit my resume to recruiters that work exclusively online? I know you have written that unless we have two years of experience with major firms, recruiters are not interested in looking at our resumes. Does that include online recruiters? READ MORE >
Question: I am an attorney admitted in New York. I have been practicing at a respected, mid-size firm for two years since graduating from a second-tier law school in the top third of my class.
I am also an athlete who has steadily trained and competed in a specific sport (which I would rather not mention, simply to protect my identity) during college, law school and in the years following. Over the past year, I have excelled in my training, and now have the opportunity to try for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
I don't want my dream of representing the U.S. at the Olympics to interfere with or sabotage my law career, yet if I make the team, I will probably need to work part-time or put my law career on hold for a few years. I'll also need to find new employment once I have completed my quest.
Will following through with my Olympic dream make it impossible to continue with my legal career? How would a prospective employer view this scenario? READ MORE >
Question: My firm won't publicly admit I was fired for economic reasons. What do I tell prospective employers? READ MORE >
Question: I am three years out of law school (first-tier school, middle of the pack in terms of grades). I worked briefly as a clerk for a government agency and have spent the past year and a half at a small firm. I feel that I have gained all that I can from this firm and would like to move to a larger firm to get a wider range of experience.
How do I go about this without jeopardizing my position here, and how should I handle requests to speak to my current employer? The partners in the firm will react negatively if they learn that I intend to leave - it would make my time here a living hell. READ MORE >
Question: For personal reasons I plan to relocate to Chicago in December. I am a first-year associate in Atlanta at a large regional law firm with an excellent reputation in the Southeast. I am not sure that I want to continue working at a large firm in Chicago. I am interested in a less stressful lifestyle. What opportunities are available to me? In addition, when should I start my job search if I am looking to move in December? READ MORE >
Question: I am currently a second-year associate at a national firm in Boston. Though my grades were very average, I interviewed with the firm when the economy was booming, and was hired as a summer student. I should also mention that I graduated from a very high ranking law school.
I recently became engaged to an investment banker in New York. I asked the managing partner of my Boston firm about the possibilities of transferring to the New York office. He said not to worry, and set me up with the New York office for a round of interviews.
Unfortunately, the New York office will not hire me. I have not been given any reasons, either by the New York office of my firm, or from anyone in Boston.
The immediate fallout from this is that some of the partners in my own department have stopped giving me assignments, saying that they do not want to waste their time with me since my goal is to be in New York. A few partners insisted that I be kept on because my work is good. So, for the moment, I still have a job.
I still want to move to New York, and have been quietly looking at other firms there. However, the few interviews that I have had with large national firms have not been successful. Everyone asks me why I do not just transfer to the New York office of my Boston firm. My response is that the firms don't, as a matter of practice, transfer junior associates around that easily. This answer is difficult to swallow for firms that do, in fact, transfer people around.
What should I tell firms when they ask why I just don’t transfer to the New York office of my current firm? READ MORE >
Question: I am trying to help my husband make the right decision. He was let go from his firm last week. Come to find out he was pretty much brought in to "back up" (turned out to be more like undermine) a partner who didn't want to be backed up.
Anyway, he's in tax and T&E, small firm background (two firms with top lawyers), 15 years of experience and only $70,000 in portables. As you can imagine, the firms either want someone with a lot less experience or a lot more business.
This past weekend, we talked about his options. I asked him where he wants to be in 5 years and he said he wants to be in a small firm bringing in about $200,000. I then asked how does he get there from here and his answer was to go out on his own. He is confident that he can make it work. He is developing a good referral base – accountants, other lawyers, and financial planners.
In your opinion, is this a smart move?
READ MORE >
Question: I have read the advice that if you are extended an interview, you have a real chance at getting the job.
I was not on law review at my school and I did not graduate in the top 20 percent (though my grades were pretty good, especially in my second and third years). But, I do have interesting extras which would arguably make me a strong candidate for an entry-level IP associate position.
What is my appropriate frame of mind when I am actually going to or in an interview session at one of these big law firms? Is it realistic for me to think that I have a very good chance at getting the job, especially if the firm bothers to fly me out there, etc.? READ MORE >
Question: I am a mid-level litigation associate at a large national law firm. In my last review, I was very highly ranked in my peer group. Though I am doing very well and generally like where I work, I am afraid I am on a sinking ship.
The firm has had several very public layoffs and I know there are more coming. Things are so tight that office supplies aren't being restocked and the firm is no longer supplying water for the water coolers. There are rumors that serious rainmakers are moving elsewhere.
See the following articles for more information:
Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Recruiter Reflects on an Age-Old Question
When is the Right Time to Make a Lateral Move?
Is it this bad everywhere? Should I even bother to try to switch firms?
READ MORE >
I don't blame you for being frustrated and I can understand why you might feel as if you are wasting your time by reading and responding to online job postings. READ MORE >
Question: How do I know that my firm is the problem? Will I be happier at another firm, or are they all just basically the same? READ MORE >
Question: I am getting my LL.M. in Tax, and want to practice in a law firm, but I just got an offer from a major accounting firm – should I take it? READ MORE >
Click here to view a collection of attorney resume and cover letter resources written by experienced legal recruiters.
Question: I’ve heard of people making different versions of their resume – is this a good idea? READ MORE >
Question: I've heard that [X law firm] only accepts Top 10 law schools/laterals from AmLaw100 firms/top GPAs. Should I still submit my materials? READ MORE >