Posts Tagged ‘legal career’

Wondering Why Your Salary is Low?: Legal Recruiters Consider Reduced Commissions

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Hot off the presses:  Connecticut Law Tribune: Legal Recruiters Consider Reduced Commissions June 21, 2010.

The first line of the article reads: “Too many lawyers and not enough jobs.” If this isn’t a clear indication that you should not attend law school, then there are no more words.

“Some law firms are asking their recruiters to take a lower commission after the firm has hired an attorney recommended by the recruiter. Generally speaking, recruiters earn 25 percent of an attorney’s annual starting salary.” So many associates who are directly hired by firms already have taken a pay decrease compared to those associates of yesteryear. Now those who are hired through placement agencies will see a bigger decrease. The agencies who make their money from getting the attorney the job must succumb to market pressures that if their pay is decreased, imagine what the actual attorney’s decrease will be. We’re not even referring to contractual attorneys, just associates hired through agencies, so imagine even further what contractual attorneys will continue to deal with lest they find a new field of work.

“During economic shifts over the past 20 years, Seder said recruiters “have all been asked to go with the flow, and when the economy recovers, firms have gone back to paying competitive rates so they don’t miss out on the talent.” I guess you have already, some of the ‘top talent’ are contractual attorneys as well.

She added, “I think this is temporary.” Of course you do, you have the same mentality as the 0Ls who are trying to convince themselves of the same thing, and why should you not, you benefit from more law graduates which equate to more commissions in your pocket.

Typically, the request is to drop commissions from 25 to 20 percent, Seder said. But she added that companies seeking in-house counsel have not discussed such reductions.

During economic shifts over the past 20 years, Seder said recruiters “have all been asked to go with the flow, and when the economy recovers, firms have gone back to paying competitive rates so they don’t miss out on the talent.”

“The activity in Connecticut is a reflection of decisions nationwide, though recruiters say this is not a widespread phenomenon.” This has widespread implications for attorneys throughout the country.

“Part of the current challenge for recruiters is that firms simply aren’t in aggressive hiring modes. With no shortage of talented attorneys on the market, some firms see an opportunity to cut their costs with recruiters.” In other words, too many attorneys drives down the market pay and firms exploit this to their fiscal ability where attorneys are asked to do substantive work for fast-food prices.

“Also on the rise, Lord said, are instances where firms reach out to a recruiter while at the same time conducting their own in-house searches. That leads to recruiters spending time on a project only to discover that their efforts were wasted when the firm goes out and hires someone to fill a vacancy in a particular practice area.”  Hmmm and we just thought agencies were greedy. Attorneys are a commodity, the placement agency is the broker and the firm is the owner. Here’s my flow chart: Attorneys may not be needed: attorneys need money but have no job → attorney seeks assistance in finding a job through an agency → Agency is actually a broker → broker is still in business because they’re plenty of attorneys to present for sale = Attorneys have it rough.

Third Recent News Article: Law graduates, economy and job market

This is related to the previous post on Life’s Mockery: Another News Article: “Law Degree Can’t Guarantee Law Firm Offer” . Just a couple of days ago Crain Business Journal posted:

Law grads’ job prospects ebb with economy – Crain’s Cleveland Business . “As 2010 law school graduates are framing their diplomas and are preparing to enter the working world, the profession is reporting that employment rates for the class of 2009 were the lowest in more than a decade.” The low employment rate didn’t happen over night, other factors contributed to the steady decline of the legal industry. Those in certain positions knew this but not only continued enrolling law students, but increased the number of law students matriculating at their institution. You knew, 0Ls likely didn’t but agents of the industry did.

“The employment rate last year was the lowest since 1996. In addition, the employment numbers include an increase in the number of graduates engaged in part-time and short-term work, as well as more grads taking jobs at the schools they had attended.” And you still are posting on various boards and blogs which law school you’re considering attending. A wise man or woman learn from the mistakes of others.

“Jennifer Blaga, director of career planning at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, said the employment rate for her class of 201 students in 2009 was 84.8%, though she cautioned that not all students report whether they have found jobs.” I’ll repeat what I wrote in that other post: If I went around and asked 10 people I knew were employed and they all said yes I can easily offer that out of the people I surveyed, 100% were employed, which by no means reflect the actual legal industry and broader economy.”

“Ms. Blaga said Cleveland State law graduates are better off than some because they often are looking for jobs at smaller firms, many of which did not face the same challenges that large law firms have over the past three years, when new hires often were deferred for several months and attorneys were laid off.” Smaller firms which also start off at a lower salary for attorney positions not likely to increase earning potential nor maintain a decent standard of living.

“While the 2009 NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey noted that an increasing number of law schools were boosting their employment figures by offering graduates positions at their alma maters, Ms. Blaga — herself a Cleveland-Marshall graduate, albeit in 1994 — said that is not the case at Cleveland State. In 2009, 1.2% of graduates had jobs in academia; 55.6% entered private practice, with slightly more than half of those graduates working in firms with two to 10 attorneys.” They’re on the defensive thanks to Nando at Third Tier Reality and see  Exposing The Law School Scam: A closer look at the employment stats for the 2009 law school class They know people are dissecting the statistics they proffer.

“At the 192 law schools that responded to the NALP survey, academic employment rose to 3.5% in 2009 from 2.3% in 2008. Talking about plumping a turkey so the masses can devour. These temporary, revolving positions helped law schools report exaggerated employment statistics for the new hapless crop to be harvested in next three years, but look:
“James Leipold, NALP’s executive director, said the academic hires were one piece of the “underlying weakness” the employment figures hid. More than 40% of the law schools reported that they provided jobs for graduates on campus and, including judicial clerkships, nearly 25% of all jobs for graduates were temporary.” Now that’s some honesty.

“Added Ms. Weinzierl: “Employers are realizing lawyers have a lot of skills others may not have. They’re more open to considering those who have a legal background.” You’re kidding me right? Please explain why most lawyers have noted that having a J.D. is a detriment to finding working outside the legal field and with professors and seasoned practicioners admitting that law graduates are entering the legal workforce with little to no practical skills, thus unprepared to meet the needs of firms and clients. Oh, do explain.