Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Survey of AmLaw 200 finds that most think legal job market has fundamentally changed

From the American Lawyer:

After two years of turmoil, the nation's largest law firms are settling into a new normal. That's the takeaway from The American Lawyer 's 2010 survey of leaders of Am Law 200 firms, which suggests that many of the changes implemented during the recession--smaller associate classes, postponed start dates for new hires, reductions in the equity pool, and scaled-back profit expectations--are here to stay, at least for a while.

Sixty percent of the 124 respondents to the Law Firm Leaders survey said that the downturn has produced a fundamental shift in the legal marketplace, and a smaller proportion--32 percent--said that the downturn had caused their firm to adjust its business model.

How does this affect our recent and soon-to-be law grads who want to work for Big (and maybe not-so-Big) Law?

Clearly, the days of ever-expanding first-year classes are a thing of the past. More than 87 percent of respondents said that 2011's incoming class will be the same size or smaller than their (usually already reduced) 2010 class.

. . . .

[F]ew firm leaders worried that a smaller class size would leave them short-staffed in the event of a sudden uptick in work. With so many recent law school graduates looking for jobs, firms can staff up quickly if the need arises, says Perkins Coie managing partner Robert Giles.

Get the full AmLaw survey results with commentary here.


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