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Thursday, October 16, 2008

More on the Economy and the Post-Graduate Job Search

There are a number of articles out there addressing the issue of the current economy and the legal employment market for upcoming graduates.

The Boston Business Journal covers the issue of the legal market in Boston in particular:
"Elizabeth Armour, director of employer relations at Suffolk University Law School, acknowledges that summer associates are no longer guaranteed job offers at the end of the summer, as large law firms - facing an uncertain economic future - grow increasingly reluctant to load up on young associates who collect $160,000 first-year paychecks. [...]
James Leipold, executive director at the National Association for Law Placement in Washington, D.C. said that while his organization does not have data yet on offer percentages, he has anecdotal evidence that points to lower offer rates in Boston this year, which hit 97.9 percent in 2007, according to NALP. [...] 'All bets are off because this situation continues to change, ' said Leipold. 'The economic situation is so fluid. We've certainly heard that some firms are not making offers to everyone.'"

How does this news affect your job search? Both the New York Lawyer and the National Law Journal provide articles with practical tips.

Cameron Stracher, a professor at New York Law School, writes in the New York Lawyer (via The American Lawyer), "The wise job-hunter will cast a deeper net, focusing on firms with niche practices that have not been hit by the downturn or groups within firms that have not been popular. [...] Take lots of meetings. Networking is more important than ever, which means talking to everyone you know, and even people you don't. "

However, the National Law Journal disagrees with Stracher's advice to postpone your job search by entering into an LL.M. program.
"'I've got students coming in asking if they should go for an LL.M.,' said Carole Montgomery, director of career development at George Washington University Law School in Washington. If students want to pursue the advanced law degree to avoid looking for a job, Montgomery advises against it. 'I tell them, 'you need to make a good-faith effort to get yourself a job,' ' she said."

While it is still unclear how today's economic events will affect the legal employment market six months from now, one thing everyone can agree on is that the post-graduate job search will take longer than it has in the past and now is the time to start!
"The delays in start dates and the slowdown in hiring will leave many people unemployed late into the year or even after graduation. 'Make a mental (and financial) plan that the job hunting process will take six to eight months,' says Meg Reuter, Assistant Dean for Career Planning at New York law School." (New York Lawyer)

Adds Gail E. Cutter, Senior Managing Director of SLJ Attorney Search, in her NYL article, ,"It takes discipline to take charge of your career when so many people are freaking out. Panic won't help, but neither will maintaining the status quo while the legal world morphs all around you." (New York Lawyer)

Thoughts or questions on this article? Post them in our comments section!

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