March 30, 2007
Moot Court Judge Panel Inspires Future Clerkship Applicants
The Honorable Deanell R. Tacha, Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals 10th Circuit, a ’71 University of Michigan Law School alum and Hon. Gerald Tjoflat of the US Court of Appeals 11th Circuit spoke about the clerkship experience and application process on March 29. Both justices were in town to judge the Campbell Moot Court Competition. Below is a summary of some of the points made during their presentation.
*Law clerking is like a fourth year of law school—it adds a great deal to your legal skill set
*You will be much sought after by employers
What Judges Look For in applicants:
*Top grades and editorial positions in law school journals (law review and others) are objective top cut items
*Students with broad based interests beyond the law. She does not like people to have tunnel vision and only focus on the law
*Team Players—have to function well in a team to have a successful clerkship. Arrogant and self-centered students will not thrive in a clerkship
*Students without any political or other agendas. Students must simply have a passion and commitment to confronting legal problems and helping solve them. No room for political and other ideological agendas
*Judges look for growth patterns in law school grades. For Judge Tacha, second year first semester grades matter the most. Don’t be discouraged by your first year grades
How to select Judges to apply to:
*Absolute best method is to talk to past clerks about their experiences
*Find out about professional background of judges, e.g. whether they were litigators, transactional lawyers, etc.
*Do not apply to a Judge whom you never intend to really work for. Nothing makes a Judge more angry then to make an offer of clerkship and have it turned down by a student who never intended to clerk there
*Don’t feel like you must clerk in the geographic area where you expect to practice. Clerkships are invaluable wherever you practice
*Plain vanilla cover letters. Let the attachments speak for themselves—Judges are used to looking through the records
*Letters of recommendation should come from faculty members who actually know/remember you
*Letters of recommendation from previous employers and the like are helpful
*Un-edited writing samples such as redacted memoranda from firm jobs, law review notes, etc.
March 28, 2007
Off-the-Record Interview Tips from Law Firm Interviewers
Dan Binstock, a legal recruiter with the legal search firm BCG Attorney Search and Managing Director of their DC office compiled a list of extremely relevant and useful interview tips taken directly from hiring partners and other interviewing attorneys at major law firms. While the list is meant for attorneys looking for a lateral move, virtually every tip is equally relevant to law students on the job search. Interviewing skills and tips should not be overlooked, as grades are not the only relevant indicator for emloyers. Often times, a winning interview will give students with lower GPAs the upper advantage. You can read Dan's interview tips at http://www.bcgsearch.com/crc/off-the-record-interview-tips.html
**Dan Binstock visits the UM Law School regularly to lecture on the DC legal market and to meet students interested in the DC market on a 1 on 1 basis. A useful handout about DC law firms and specific practice areas prepared by Dan is available at the OCS Office.
March 16, 2007
Summer Hiring is Heating Up
Summer Hiring Is Heating Up
The National Law Journal
Several of the nation's top law firms are hiring more summer associates for the upcoming season, with a few bringing aboard significantly greater numbers of would-be lawyers than in years past.
A snapshot of some of the largest firms shows a greater demand for summer associate help than last year, which itself marked an increase for most shops compared with the previous year.
With record profits at many big firms, summer associates are a hot commodity, especially when combined with a stagnant supply of law graduates and a shrinking law school talent pool.
"We had a great recruiting year, we have lots of work and there's room for everyone," said Carol Sprague, legal hiring director at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
The 1,915-attorney New York firm is expecting 292 summer associates, an increase of 35.2 percent compared with 2006, when 216 summer associates joined the firm. In 2005, Skadden hired 184 summer associates across its 22 offices.
The rise in summer associate positions partly is due to a boom in business among large law firms, many of which are reporting record growth for 2006. For example, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker announced last month that it grossed some $813 million in revenue in 2006, an increase of 22 percent compared with 2005. Profits per partner totaled $1.6 million, up 21 percent, the firm said.
In addition, 825-attorney King & Spalding also announced last month that its 2006 gross revenue topped $582 million, an increase of 13.2 percent compared with 2005. Profits per partner shot up by 25 percent, the Atlanta-based firm announced, for a record $1.3 million last year.
Also touting record results recently was Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. Gross revenue at the Pittsburgh firm, the result of a merger last year between Buchanan Ingersoll and Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling, climbed to $271.3 million, up from the $193.7 million Buchanan Ingersoll made in 2005. Profits per partner grew by 14 percent, from $457,000 in 2005 to $522,000 in 2006.
But with the good news at big firms comes the challenge of finding qualified summer associates to fill those posts. Despite the increased demand for associate help, law schools continue to churn out about the same number of graduates: some 40,000 each year. Meanwhile, the number of applicants is dropping, by 6.3 percent last year and by 5.2 percent the year before, according to the Law School Admission Council.
Boosting its summer associate ranks by 19.9 percent in 2007 is Kirkland & Ellis, which plans to welcome 229 students. Last year, the 1,218-attorney Chicago-based firm hired 191 summer associates, and in 2005, it ushered in 188 summer associates.
"We are very, very busy," said Sallie Smylie, chairwoman of Kirkland & Ellis's recruiting committee.
To find those summer associates, Kirkland & Ellis visited some new schools last fall, Smylie said, and made trips to schools that it had crossed off its list a few years ago. Indeed, several schools reported visits last fall from law firms that previously had not participated in on-campus recruiting.
For example, Northeastern University School of Law for the first time welcomed the firm now known as Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis, in addition to Chicago's Seyfarth Shaw and New York's Proskauer Rose.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Law had inaugural visits from Dechert. New York-based Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft also collected resumes for the first time at the school.
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, had first-time visits from Seyfarth Shaw and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. And Philadelphia's Duane Morris, with 581 attorneys, visited some smaller schools this fall, including North Carolina Central University School of Law and Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, La.
According to NALP, formerly the National Association for Law Placement, on-campus interviews typically result in about 21 percent of law students ultimately securing a permanent position with a law firm.
The latest summer-recruitment figures available from NALP indicate that more law firms are visiting more schools. Nationwide, 50 percent of law schools reported an increase of 5 percent or more in the number of employers visiting their schools to hire summer associates in 2005.
Some bet-hedging also may be fueling the jump in summer-associate hiring. As firms battle an attrition rate that, by NALP's estimates, has soared to 78 percent by the time associates are in their fifth year of practice, some firms may be hiring more people in hopes that a greater number of associates will join the firm for the long haul.
"There's probably some of that," Smylie said. "You have to be realistic when you're projecting your needs that there will be attrition."
Retention problems are one reason that law firms are hiring more summer associates, said Joel Rose, principal of Joel Rose & Associates in Cherry Hill, N.J. He added that competition for top summer help has prompted some of the more prestigious firms to hoard associates.
"They want to give as many of these top-quality candidates as they can an opportunity," Rose said.
Also bringing in more summer associates is DLA Piper. For the upcoming summer, it expects 105 law students, compared with 92 in 2006, for a 14.1 percent increase. The 3,333-attorney firm, a result of a merger, was created in 2005.
Latham & Watkins also is hiring more summer associates, but only slightly. This year, it expects 282 law students, compared with 276 last year.
Last year, Morrison & Foerster hired 109 summer associates, a 14.7 percent increase compared with 2005. But this year, the 1,062-attorney firm is expecting 108 summer associates, one fewer than in 2006.
Morrison & Foerster Chairman Keith Wetmore said that the firm's San Francisco office was "oversubscribed" last year in terms of its number of summer associates. The firm this year has "redistributed" some of those positions to its other offices, he said.
March 07, 2007
What Does The Great Associate Salary Spike Really Mean?
If you’re interested in a thorough analysis of the latest rounds of associate hikes (e.g. NY firms raising starting salaries from $145,000-$160,000 and the rest of the Am Law 100 following suit), you should read the latest posting on Adam Smith, Esq., a prominent blog which discusses the economics of law firms. http://www.bmacewen.com/blog/
March 06, 2007
Greenberg Traurig--Revenues up by 880% since 1996
Want to learn more about the fastest growing firm in the Am Law 100 and the only Am Law 100 firm with a minority chief executive? What drives the firm's growth (the firm grew from 325 attorneys in 1997 to over 1600 today)? Read the American Lawyer Magazine's recent article on Greenberg Traurig. http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1173101898582
March 05, 2007
Are Lawyer's Unhappy? Read the Michigan Law Review to find out...
"Are lawyers unhappy?" asks Robert Ambrogi of Legal Blog Watch http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/
From a scholarly perspective, according to Ambrogi, some might suggest that the question is right up there with, "Do dogs bite?" and "Is grass green?".
One recent paper, Young Associates in Trouble, by David T. Zaring of Washington and Lee University School of Law and William D. Henderson of Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington, to be published in the Michigan Law Review considers two recent novels about unhappy associates at large law firms in light of available data and empirical studies. They conclude, in part that "firm life is no picnic, and that it can be even less picnic-like the more prestigious and profitable the outfit." On the other hand, there is a significant variation in working conditions among large law firms and young associates who prefer better working conditions can gravitate towards the less prestigous and less profitable firms in the heirarcy.
If you can't wait for the Michigan Law Review to publish this paper, you can download it free from this site: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=958053
March 02, 2007
Law Firm Partners Find Out What Associates Really Think of Them
Law.com recently ran an interesting article about some large law firms engaging in upward reviews of partners. Upward reviews are evaluations of partner performance and skill by associates. According to the article upward reviews "give associates the opportunity to evaluate and provide input on the management and leadership performance of partners...". Moreover, the article encourages other law firms to follow suite, "Law firms aiming to create an outstanding working environment for their associates and attract prospective recruits should seriously consider implementing an upward review process."
White & Case has been engaging in upward reviews of partners for several years now and has found that such reviews can make a powerful impact in improving management performance and reinforcing the value a firm places on associates.
While many students likely know the statistics on lawyer attrition, they may not be aware of the steps some firms are taking to address attrition through lawyer engagement and experience management.
Read the article here: http://www.law.com/jsp/llf/PubArticleLLF.jsp?id=1172052185553&rss=newswire