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Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Elephant in the Room: Your Job Search in Today's Economy

With the recent events on Wall Street, many students are wondering how the current economy will affect their job search. How hard will it be to find a job upon graduation? Will there be any jobs available for new attorneys? Are there some practice areas that are recession-proof? These are all good questions. While certain practice areas such as real estate and corporate transactions have been detrimentally affected by today's economy, there are a number of fields that are not drastically affected by the current climate as well as others that do especially well when the economy dips.

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, there is nothing certain in this world except death and taxes. We can also add two other items to this list of certainties: crime and divorce. Because there will always be taxes, divorce, crime, and death, law practices involving tax, family law, criminal law and probate are relatively unaffected by economic downturns. Family, criminal defense, and probate law practices are most common among smaller firms and solo practitioners while tax law may be practiced in both a small or large firm setting as well as within government organizations. An obvious legal field that is getting a lot more work at the moment is bankruptcy. Large firm bankruptcy practices are especially busy in light of current events. Bankruptcy cases can also generate work for other practice groups within a firm, including litigation, tax, and securities.

While a job search may take longer during a weak economy than it would during boom times, the same job search resources and strategies should be applied. Every successful job search includes not only applying for jobs that are posted but also contacting employers directly, conducting informational interviews, getting referrals from family and friends, and networking. Most importantly, students should not wait until graduation to begin looking for employment. Taking an active role in your job search now and doing more than just applying to job postings is the best way to guarantee employment under any economic condition.

Questions or concerns on this subject? Feel free to post them in our comments section!

For further reading...
"Crisis gives and takes away at law firms" (Boston Business Journal)
"Boom Time for Bankruptcy?" (The New York Lawyer)

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