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Simple Item 1. Online Legal news, blogs, commentary and analysis from Legal Business - the market-leading monthly magazine for legal professionals globally. Read More. Current subscribers who wish to access the iPad edition should email This email address is being protected from spambots. In addition to setting out the interview and placement data, we give each practice area an informal health status in terms of what we expect the health of that practice area to be in Use the images in the key below to quickly identify the health of a practice area.
Washington, DC | Georgetown Law
The majority of attorneys in the market are litigators. With so many litigators in the legal market, the fact that recruiters place many of them should not be a surprise. As it was in , the majority of litigators we placed in were with smaller to midsized law firms. For law firms that do not pay the top of the market rates, there was a major demand for litigators all around the country—particularly in areas outside of major American cities. Law firms outside of major cities were hungry for junior to midlevel litigators and eager to hire.
Our offices around the country typically received multiple phone calls each day from smaller to midsized law firms seeking litigators. Law firms were hungry for litigators all year. Regarding demand, there is plenty of demand for litigators in all but the largest law firms. Many of these law firms are finding that they are getting more work and need to hire more attorneys.
The larger law firms, in contrast, remained very competitive for getting positions in The requirements that they seek tend to be extremely high. The requirements for lateraling into the largest law firms are much higher for litigators than they are for attorneys in most other practice areas. The largest and most respected firms are interested in attorneys with the best grades, from the best law schools, coming from the best law firms and with the most prestigious clerkships.
The emphasis on qualifications for litigators tends to be higher than it is for attorneys in other practice areas in the largest law firms. Attorneys from large law firms did not do as well in the market as they might have done in previous years—it just seems to be getting harder and harder for them. These markets continued to be very slow. I came across countless senior attorneys throughout the year who were laid off or fired from large law firms —there was just no demand for them, and they were left groveling for anything.
Some of these attorneys took jobs in public service and other roles that paid a fraction of what they had been making working for major law firms. I saw many attorneys from top Ivy League law schools lose their jobs and go to work as solo practitioners and take other jobs you normally would not associate with attorneys with top credentials, including work as insurance defense attorneys and the like.
This is not something I was happy seeing. It was sad watching these attorneys reduced to this. Litigation has become a very difficult practice area for attorneys to succeed in. Without substantial portable business, the path of many large law firm litigators is to become solo practitioners and do other sorts of similar jobs after leaving large law firms if they do not become partners. It is very sad, and with an oversupply of litigators in the market, far too many talented litigators are ill-advised trusting the large law firm route in large cities.
Top law firms are much more pedigree-conscious with litigators than they are with other sorts of attorneys. They expect their litigators to have clerkships, be on law review, the order of the coif, and so forth—from top law schools. Even litigators with these sorts of qualifications, though, are experiencing a certain level of hardship moving laterally. Incredibly, in major cities there is an actual oversupply of litigators who clerked for federal circuit judges, attended top law schools, and were at the top of their classes.
In previous years, these attorneys would see many doors open for them. This is just not the case anymore. The litigators who have had the most success have often been those coming directly out of federal circuit court clerkships. The market has gotten so tight that the largest and most prestigious law firms hiring lateral litigators do not even view federal district court clerkships very highly anymore—but there is still interest in federal district court clerks from the Southern District of New York and a few other select jurisdictions.
The market for litigators has become so status conscious that clerking for a federal magistrate is something that seems equivalent to attending a fourth-tier law school—permanently barring all but the luckiest attorneys from the most prestigious law firms. An explanation for the slowdown in lateral hiring is largely due to the laws of supply and demand discussed earlier. There are too many lateral litigators seeking jobs, and this has set the bar very high for attorneys getting hired.
Every litigator out there is having serious issues getting a position. The economy has been relatively good, which has decreased to some extent the amount of litigation work available, as people tend to be less litigious in good times than in bad. Litigation is doing very well for attorneys seeking positions in small to midsized law firms: There are plenty of positions available. Litigation is expanding outside of major cities and doing well in smaller to midsized markets.
To be attractive to large law firms in major cities, litigators need to have exceptional qualifications grades, schools, clerkships, and firm experience. The work is specialized, requires specialized skills only learned in large law firms, and takes time to learn.
Despite the fact that corporate attorneys do not make up the majority of attorneys in the United States, in all but the most recessionary environments, they will constitute a large portion of placements made by most legal recruiting firms. Corporate is a very competitive practice area—particularly in the largest markets. Attorneys in the largest markets are facing a great deal of competition for corporate positions and the qualifications needed are high.
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When the economy is good, corporate attorneys are often in strong demand. The economy seems to be very good in , but there appears to be many corporate attorneys chasing a limited number of jobs. The best opportunities for corporate attorneys tend to be in midsized markets where they are more in demand than in the largest markets.
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Regarding the ability to lateral between states, cities, and even countries, corporate is probably the best practice area to be in. Corporate attorneys can relocate to different states without a lot of difficulties. We relocated numerous corporate attorneys in Corporate is also a good practice area for attorneys interested in business and making a lot of money. Many corporate attorneys end up working inside of companies as in-house counsel or building books of business at their next firms.
When the economy is slow, it can become more difficult for corporate attorneys to move laterally and there are a lot of layoffs. Corporate work tends to mirror the strength of the larger economy and number of deals going on there. Corporate is a very difficult practice area to start a career in because attorneys can get laid off and lose their jobs early in their careers and never get the training needed to become seasoned.
Corporate is the best practice area for attorneys interested in building a book of business.