"Will you be willing to address the problems and opportunities for long-term government attorneys who want to go into the private sector but, for obvious reasons, don't have a book of business?"
It depends on the type of government attorney you are. Most government attorneys have experience in something. They may have experience in litigation, environmental work, with social security law, or white- collar work. I don't know what it is, but typically you need to figure out what type of experience you have and how it's relevant to law firms. The nice thing about law firms is most law firms do whatever type of work you're doing inside the government. There's some type of corollary for what type of work you'd be doing with the government in a law firm.
You need to find that. What I love now for finding information about law firms, that google can be very effective. Say you are an education lawyer working for the government, and you can find law firms that do education law, and you can just enter a bunch of different locations in the country, and you can apply to those firms. That can be very effective because the law firms love stating that they have various people that used to work for the government. You don't always need a book of business, attorneys transition from the government into private practice all the time. It's just a question of how big the firm is and how much money it's going to pay. You can always find someone that's going to hire you. It's not a problem. I would work on that. Government attorneys can easily transition. You just have to be open geographically. What you need to understand, anytime you're looking for a job in the largest markets, which would be New York, Washington, the largest firms are going to be the hardest to get jobs in because there are lots and lots of people in large cities. The smallest firms are going to be the easiest because there are fewer people trying to work in them. You're always better off working or trying to get jobs in smaller firms in the largest markets.
The smallest firms in the large markets get the fewest applications because everyone's trying to work for the bigger firms. The ones that are difficult to find and aren't on all of the top firms are going to be the easiest. The hardest firms are going to be at the largest ones and the ones everyone knows about, but just as the larger markets are difficult, the smaller markets are going to be the easiest. If you are from a small town or a small market or your spouse is, or have relatives there, those are always the best markets to try to get a job then, if you're having a hard time in a big market because they get fewer applications.
Anytime you go to a smaller market, you're going to have a much easier time getting a job. I used to work for a judge in Northern Michigan, that's a hard market to attract people to work in. They didn't know this in Northern Michigan because it wasn't Detroit, but obviously, fewer people want to work in Northern Michigan than they want to work in Chicago or Detroit or Cleveland. Looking in smaller markets is genius. All the time I come up against situations where something like an attorney's in New York City and he's from Australia. He's lost his job with a big firm, and if he doesn't find a job in four weeks, he's going to be deported and have to go back to Australia, and his wife and family are all living in New York. And what is he going to do?
I make it very simple. I got him an interview with a great firm, one of the better firms in the country in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He decided that for whatever reason, that he could not bear to live in Grand Rapids, even though Grand Rapids is a very nice town, I think it's great. And I have a lot of family there.
He didn't take the interview. And now he's in Australia, and his family's in New York City, and he's been there the whole pandemic. And there's nothing more important than staying employed. You need to stay employed as long as you can, and you need to go where the work is. If an attorney is not employed, it just shows a lack of enthusiasm for finding a job and your inability to help yourself get a job. You always need to keep your job.