In the fourth quarter of 2011, 65,000 lawyers across the nation were unemployed, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.
“We’re inundated by resumes right now, both of attorneys who became unemployed as a result of the crisis, and of course the law schools have done nothing to reduce their class sizes, so there have been successive waves of new attorneys flooding the market,” said Stephen M. Vajtay Jr. firmwide managing partner for McCarter & English. “This is a tremendously challenging environment in which to find a job.”
Client service partners, some with 20 or more years of experience, who were let go in a downsizing during the recession are among attorneys remaining unemployed, said David Garber, president and owner of Princeton Legal Search Group LLC.
“Once you get to a certain level — say seven years, eight years into your career — if you don’t have a client base, if you don’t have business that travels with you when you move from firm to firm, it can be very difficult to find a job, even in the best of times,” said Garber, who placed about 30 lawyers at new firms last year. At law firms, “there is a constant demand (for) lateral partners or groups of partners that are self-sustaining, that have business to bring, that comes with them.”
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