An occasional look at how laid-off legal professionals cope with a crisis economy.
It’s good to be a hiring partner at Lewis Brisbois.
Los Angeles partner John Barber tells Legal Pad that the picking’s never been as good as in this recession. The market is flush with high-pedigree candidates, he says, and they’re calling him for jobs. Some of that is spontaneous. Some is in response to the firm’s job ads on Craigslist, like this recent one we found here for junior partners and associates with employment law experience.
“I have interviewed individuals laid off from Latham, Paul Hastings — and we’re talking about firms whose compensation structure is at some levels almost double ours,” said Barber, who focuses on employment law.
Someone calls a partner in the employment department about open positions almost every day, Barber said. One or more applications come in via word of mouth daily, and “many dozens of unsolicited resumes” come in every week.
And check out the bigshot law school grads … after the jump.
In Southern California, Lewis Brisbois recruits would typically come from Loyola, USC or Pepperdine. Now he talks to alums from UCLA and Georgetown.
The insurance-defense-focused Lewis Brisbois pays first years about $85,000, Barber said. But the firm gives its lawyers room to develop their practice. Barber says its younger associates take depositions, go to court and have face-to-face client meetings. And because the firm doesn’t have a lockstep system, the pay depends on the amount of entrepreneurship, he said. “Those that are truly excellent receive a very competitive pay,” he said.
Asked what the response is among candidates about the salary, Barber said that it varies. For those that want to come in and generate business, “the initial reduction in compensation when they join can be overcome really quickly.”
“Those who are not entrepreneurial in spirit and want to be provided for, who practice law and go home, they have a more negative reaction,” he said, adding: “It’s a great way to screen people.”
— Petra Pasternak