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The job market for lawyers: what's the future?

It’s so hard to know the job market for lawyers will be like in the next few years.  The economic downturn has thrown most sectors into turmoil, and it’s anybody’s guess what will happen in LawWorld.  The received wisdom is that lawyers do well in bad times as well as good.  But that aphorism really refers to the legal field in general, not to individual areas of practice.  The early 90s saw a number of restructured law firms and layoffs, especially in those firms closest to the financial sector.  That scenario seems to be playing out again, only potentially on a bigger scale.  At the same time, some practice areas will continue to do well.

The good news:

 

International commercial law, especially in Asia and the Middle East, seems to be thriving.

 

Intellectual property... read more »

And so it begins….

The New York Times reports:

You know things are bad when even lawyers are getting laid off.

In downturns of years past, law firms exploited corporate failures and bitter, protracted lawsuits to keep busy and keep billing. But in this still-unfolding crisis, the embittered and the bankrupt have been relatively slow to appear, at least in court.

 

Law firms in turn are feeling the strain. Thelen and Heller Ehrman, two firms whose deep San Francisco roots extend back decades, have collapsed outright, in part because of the business slowdown. Each firm left several hundred lawyers out in the cold. Many others, including Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and Katten Muchin Rosenman, two Chicago firms ranked among the nation’s hundred most profitable by American Lawyer magazine, and the international giant Clifford Chance have jettisoned dozens of associates.

 

... read more »

Wisdom from the financial aid panel

Summary of panelists’ presentations from the recent workshop on law school financial aid issues:What kinds of financial aid are available?Need-based aid (mainly Stafford loans, up to a Congressionally specified sum, currently around $20K), private loans, and merit-based aid.What forms do I fill out to apply for need-based aid?  :Basic form is the FAFSA.  Some law schools have their own specific forms too, so be sure to check.  Deadlines as early as January/February—there is an advantage to completing all financial aid forms early. Be sure to answer questions about parental contributions candidly.  Financial aid officers can spot discrepancies in your financial records.  It is important to explain all details of your parents’ financial obligations, e.g., tuition payments for other siblings, debt, house ownership.What do I need to bear in mind while the financial aid process is underway?Plan,... read more »

Interesting perspective on internships

From today’s New York Times:

May 30, 2006Op-Ed ContributorTake This Internship and Shove ItBy ANYA KAMENETZMY younger sister has just arrived in New Orleans for the summer after her freshman year at Yale. She will be consuming daily snowballs, the local icy treat, to ward off the heat, volunteering to help clean up neighborhoods damaged by Hurricane Katrina and working part time, for pay, at both a literary festival and a local restaurant. Meanwhile, most of her friends from college are headed for the new standard summer experience: the unpaid internship.Instead of starting out in the mailroom for a pittance, this generation reports for business upstairs without pay. A national survey by Vault, a career information Web site, found that 84 percent of college students in April planned to complete at least one internship before graduating. Also according to Vault, about half of all internships are unpaid... read more »

Lawyer-alumni career panel: Law outside the courtroom

Friday, April 21st at noonSOM 210The low-down on transactional practice—what is that other thing lawyers do besides litigate? Two practicing attorneys (and UMass alums) and SOM Prof. Jennifer Taub will talk about their work and career paths, and answer your questions. Featuring:Daniel Pierce, Duane Morris, UMass ‘95 (Political Science), BU Law ‘99Christine Miller, Arclight Capital, UMass ‘92 (Political Science and Economics), BU Law ‘97Prof. Jennifer Taub, Isenberg School of Management, formerly at Fidelity Investments, Yale ‘89, Harvard Law ‘93Co-sponsored with the UMass Pre-Law Society.

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