"Outside of true lateral hiring (associates for specific positions with prior experience), what do you see as the law firm hiring outlook for hiring federal clerks in mid-size markets in the coming months? I spoke with many firms that expressed interest but they're unsure about business conditions created by the pandemic."
I think the hiring outlook is pretty good for people. I think if a law firm is telling you they're unsure about business conditions, that just means that they're unsure about hiring you at the moment. They may say they're unsure about business conditions if they don't have the work, but most law firms, if they see someone that they really like will express interest in them, even if they don't have, necessarily, an opening. I do think that especially for federal clerks in midsize markets, I don't think you'll have too much of a problem finding something.
The first market I always recommend looking at is the one you're currently clerking in, and then after that other markets. It's not as easy to get a job as a clerk as it once was. So I am sympathetic because there are a lot of litigators out there, but I do think that the hiring outlook is very good. The only caveat I would add is that, because the economy has been doing well and it just seems to be getting better and better, for some reason, that's just never been the greatest thing for litigation. Because litigation tends to slow down, when the economy is really good, because people are just more enthusiastic about the future. People are paying their bills, so there's less commercial litigation. They're less likely to get involved in law suits and so forth. That's something that I've noticed.