Monday, August 3, 2009

Job market for lawyers: is a recession changing the model?

Above the Law, a blog about the legal profession, reports on recent firing and hiring, and speculates whether this may be a leading indicator of a fundamental change in the way big law firms are organized: Cadwalader Is Hiring -- Kind Of

"Many regular Above the Law readers will remember that Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft laid off nearly 100 attorneys, back before laying off attorneys became cool. More recently, the firm put 34 associates on an involuntary sabbatical.
Cadwalader is still willing to give jobs to the 34 people let go earlier this month. Contract jobs. Multiple sources inform us that CWT is trying to bring on a gang of contract attorneys. "
"For those of us who are not trying to calculate the fair market value of our self-respect, we have to ask if this Cadwalader program is a sign of things to come? Cadwalader was clearly one of the first firms to realize that layoffs needed to happen. Are they also one of the first firms to realize that the associate model is dead?
We could be moving to a place where law firms are populated by partners, a few choice associates, and a gang of contract attorneys that can be added or subtracted as work demands. Is Cadwalader going to lead the way to a new and slightly terrifying future? "

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