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Small Candidate Pool Searches

by Jon Lewis

Consider the following job opening:

Vault 100 law firm seeks mid-level associate with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, Mandarin language ability, and background in both patent prosecution and litigation.  Candidates must be admitted to practice in NY and before the United States Patent & Trademark Office.  Top academic and law school credentials required.  Prior work experience at a company in the high tech industry preferred.

Obviously, the pool of candidates meeting all of these specifications will be relatively small compared to the relevant pool for a more common search for, say, a third year general corporate associate.  From an employer’s perspective, a small pool search like this raises a number of issues calling for careful consideration.

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Job Searches and Bonus Season

by Jon Lewis

Now that we have hit November, a number of significant occasions loom larger on the horizon: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and, last but not least, law firm bonus announcements are all just around the corner. This time of year, legal recruiters hear the following from candidates with great frequency: “I’m putting my search on hold until after I collect my bonus; call me back next year.”

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The Elusive Window of Marketability

by Michael Lord

Too many associates are missing the so-called “window of marketability” and get in the law firm job hunt too late for their own good.  As a general rule, associates are most marketable when they have two to five years of experience.  More than I ever can remember, my colleagues and I are receiving calls from 7th, 8th, and 9th year associates who have now figured out that partnership prospects are dim and it’s time to look for greener pastures.

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Difficult Searches and Recruiter Motivation

by Jon Lewis

If you’re a law firm or in-house legal department looking for a hard-to-find attorney how can you get a legal recruiter to focus on your search? A traditional contingency fee arrangement may not do the trick.  Recruiters working on straight contingency are understandably reluctant to devote much time to difficult searches unlikely to lead to a placement and a fee.

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Attorney Career Planning and Realistic Expectations

by Jon Lewis

Most of you readers don’t know this, but I am a very lucky person. In fact, I’m so darned lucky that I’m fairly certain that someday soon I’m going to win a multi-million-dollar lottery jackpot. Which means that I don’t need to worry at all about planning for my eventual retirement. No, not really. I’m actually no luckier than normal, and need to save for retirement just like most people ... What, you might ask, does the above have to do with an article about legal careers?

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References & Conflicts from the Candidate’s Perspective

by Jon Lewis

When pursuing a new position as an attorney, you will typically need to work hardest before receiving your ultimate offer, on tasks such as drafting a resume, preparing for/attending multiple rounds of interviews, and negotiating terms after an initial offer is extended. But even if you survive all that heavy lifting, it’s usually still premature to celebrate. The vast majority of offers to attorneys are expressly contingent upon reference and conflicts checks, and (as many candidates have learned to their dismay) those checks can at times prove to be much more than mere rubber stamp formalities.

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The Unforgiving Market

by Andrew Gurman

Although U.S. stock markets had excellent returns for almost five years, the U.S. legal market saw a tepid recovery, leaving companies and law firms with far greater leverage during the hiring process than the attorney candidates who are seeking to join them. What had been a candidates’ market turned into an employers’ market by late 2008. Here are examples of the post-recession challenges faced by associates, counsel, and partners looking to make a move:

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Interview Prep Pointers

by Jon Lewis

Suppose you’ve finally landed an interview for your dream job. And say you’ve got great credentials and directly on point experience. In fact, on paper you’re a perfect candidate for that in-house or entertainment boutique position you’ve always wanted. You’re on your way, right? Well, maybe ...

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In-House Insights

by Jon Lewis

Ask a legal recruiter to name the one thing he or she hears most often from candidates and there’s a good chance the answer will be “I want to go in-house.”  For many candidates, an in-house position seems like the holy grail of legal jobs, the solution to all the shortcomings of life at a law firm. But there are potential pitfalls ...

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The Illusion of Job Security and Practical Implications

by Andrew Gurman

Many have seen the practice of law at major, large law firms or within an in-house setting as a safe choice for earning solid compensation and enjoying excellent job stability. That conception suffered during the Great Recession in the face of mass Biglaw and significant corporate in-house layoffs. But long-term stability was lacking even before that time ...

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