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Even though firms are laying off attorneys, pockets of opportunity remain for job-seeking lawyers -- they just need to know where to look, and also where not to.

For example, sending résumés blindly isn't likely to produce many results, particularly at this time. Over at The Am Law Daily, BCG Recruiter Dan Binstock is quoted as saying that he's never seen more résumés, and that even partners are beginning to look for other opportunities. At the same time, the Am Law Daily post points out that overseas markets are continuing to hire -- and associates might consider positions in law firm outposts in Asia or Dubai. In addition, there are also opportunities in U.S. markets outside of New York or other cities hit hardest by the bailout. For example, much of the oil-related work originating in the Middle East now winds up in Houston, and thus, the Houston energy and finance legal markets remain strong. There's also the possibility of work arising out of the economic rescue package -- though for now, the newly created Office for Financial Stability that will oversee the bailout doesn't have any plans for hiring lawyers.

And believe it or not, even now some firms continue to hire, says the Wall Street Journal. Firms with strong balance sheets are taking the opportunity to hire lawyers from competitors in areas such as mergers or debt offerings, which can help firms diversify during the downturn and explore new business opportunities. In fact, K&L Gates has been acquiring midsized firms during this period and has plans to grow aggressively during the downturn.

As for lawyers who are still employed, firms are trying to reassure the troops that their jobs are safe, reports a post at the Counsel to Counsel blog. But if associates have been idle for six months, they're well advised to start looking, irrespective of any assurances of work from the firm.

If you have any advice or insights for job seekers during this period, please post it in comments below.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on October 9, 2008 at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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