Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Market for new lawyers

Graduating in a recession is no fun, and aspects of the way lawyers are hired and promoted may make that particularly so not only for this year's law grads, but for next year's, since many law firms essentially hire after the second year of law school: Downturn Dims Prospects Even at Top Law Schools .

"Discussions at industry roundtables and casual talk among officials at leading schools and firms suggest a consensus that interview dates should be pushed back to the spring of the second year, if not the third year. The recent problems have arisen, reform-minded critics say, because the legal industry essentially hires two full years ahead of when employees begin to work. And because young lawyers have to be advanced by lockstep every year, it is difficult to make recruiting changes that are responsive to shocks in business.
“There’s a long list of issues that need re-examining,” said Ralph Baxter, the chairman of Orrick. “The current economic circumstances have helped people see the economic inefficiencies we’ve been living with.”
Even lockstep, as sacred a pillar of Big Law as the billable hour, has been undermined by the hiring headaches of the last year, some argue. Orrick and another major firm, Howrey, have introduced innovative programs for associates based on apprenticeships or tiered systems that depart from the traditional “up or out” partner-track models. Some industry observers say their moves represent first steps that may ultimately give firms greater flexibility in hiring."

1 comment:

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