An occasional look at how job hunting legal professionals cope with a crisis economy.
Updated: We heard back from Delia Swan today (Tuesday) and want to correct how many of her recruiters have historically done partner placements, and also clarify that her company has made some associate placements in '09. See below for more on both things.
The fist of the associate job market has gut-punched young lawyers –- and the recruiters who tend to them.
Delia Swan, of Southern California’s Swan Legal Search, feels the pain. Associate placements once accounted for 75 to 80 percent of her six-recruiter team’s income. “We have no associate income anymore,” she told Legal Pad this afternoon. [Updated Tuesday:] Or, more precisely, less: She says her team has placed about half a dozen associates since the start of the year, compared to 15 to 20 placements at the same time last year.
Surviving on partner laterals, and what's left for associates, after the jump ...
“I’m a little freaked out,” she conceded. [Corrected Tuesday:] Swan said she’s historically focused on partner placements, while three of her five other recruiters have historically placed both partners and associates.
Now all her recruiters are doing more partner placements, she said. “It’s a good partner market, and it’s a good market for acquisitions, mergers,” she said. “You just have to surf the wave.”
Swan says she hasn’t had to lay off anyone yet. “I’m determined that we’ll all take a hit before any single one of us does,” she said. The recruiters work on commission. But she has asked her six salaried staffers to come in four days a week instead of five, and she’s cut advertising.
Swan, who expects more layoff announcements in Los Angeles, said her advice to young job seekers of late has been to not worry about their resume and to take a job with the Peace Corps, Teach for America or Habitat for Humanity. “Do something good for the world, do something pro bono,” she said.
“You’ll be forgiven,” she said. “When the market comes back nobody will have to explain what they were doing for the past two years.”
— Petra Pasternak