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Hard Times

The scores of attorney and staff layoffs at large law firms may be grabbing the headlines, but small and mid-sized firms in New York also are making tough decisions on how to survive the current economic crisis.

From reining in day-to-day expenses to refocusing their practice areas, these firms are challenged to meet the shifting needs of clients while keeping up the flow of revenue they need to stay in business.

At the same time, law students are facing a grim outlook for the starts of their careers. Jobs are drying up and newly minted attorneys will be competing with experienced attorneys laid off because of the recession.

How are New York practitioners coping? What can you do to ride out the recession or land a job in this climate?

NYLJ reporter Vesselin Mitev takes a look at these and other issues in our ongoing series of reports, "Hard Times: Lawyers and the Recession."

Have an idea for a story or advice for those in similar straits? E-mail Vesselin Mitev.

Employment Woes Fuel Uptick in Lawyer Depression

By Vesselin Mitev | July 20, 2009
Depression increasingly has been recognized as a major problem among attorneys, members of a high-stress occupation vulnerable to anxiety even in good times. And these are not good times.

Anxiety Over Economy Grips Students as Graduation Nears

By Vesselin Mitev | April 21, 2009
Commencement ceremonies at the state's 15 law schools are just around the corner, but these are times of anxiety as well as of celebration for many students, who are facing the worst attorney job market in years.

Cash-Strapped Lawyers Strive To Slash Costs

By Vesselin Mitev | April 6, 2009
Feeling the pinch of erratic cash flows, many small firms and solos are slicing costs to keep their bottom lines in the black.

Small Firms, Solos Face Tough Economic Decisions

By Vesselin Mitev | February 18, 2009
Wall Street layoffs, mortgage foreclosures on a massive scale and a freeze in the financial transaction sector have affected attorneys across all practice areas, some more than others. The smaller the firm, the bigger the impact.

Related Stories

The following stories provide coverage of other aspects of the economic downturn's impact on lawyers locally and nationwide.

City, Courts Kick Off Campaign to Encourage Lawyers to Volunteer

By Noeleen G. Walder | May 26, 2009
The first of five meetings to recruit, motivate and inform attorneys for the new NYC Legal Outreach initiative, an "unprecedented" joint effort by the judicial and executive branches to expand pro bono legal assistance, will be held tonight.

New Cardozo Dean Envisions 'Deeper Level' Of Training, Stresses Role of Public Service

By Vesselin Mitev | May 18, 2009
As dean of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Matthew Diller will face a faltering economy in which law school graduates are having trouble finding jobs but in which there is an increasing need for their services.

Believing Associates Will Work for Less, Some Non-N.Y. Firms Trim Salaries

By Amanda Royal | May 5, 2009
Associate salaries have been a hot topic in the legal industry for the past few months, and now about a dozen large and midsize firms have cut them in some form or fashion.

Laid-Off Associates Say Government Agency Job Searches Are 'Demoralizing,' 'Ridiculous'

By Marisa McQuilken | April 23, 2009
Legal career counselors and agency officials say there has been a surge in lawyer applicants for government jobs, thanks to the crashing private-sector economy, and the swelling talent pool is making the cumbersome process even tougher.

Slowing Economy, Drive to Cut Costs Trimming In-House Legal Departments

By Lynn Marek | March 26, 2009
Law firm are not the only ones pushing attorneys out the door to shrink costs. U.S. companies, both large and small and across varied industries, are dismissing attorneys as they retool their law departments to cut costs and adapt to slowing economic activity.

Laid Off Lawyers Offered (Unpaid) Work, Ego Boost

By Noeleen G. Walder | March 13, 2009
A new program offered by the New York City Law Department offers litigation and labor associates who recently have been laid off or are on the verge of losing their jobs the chance to gain courtroom experience while continuing their job search.

Law School Roundup

March 3, 2009
Hofstra University School of Law has decided to cut its part-time evening program as of this fall, while Albany Law School is freezing its tuition for the 2009-10 school year.

Simpson Thacher Associates Slated for Pro Bono Stints

By Leigh Jones | March 3, 2009
Amid a slowdown in funding for public interest legal work and a downturn in business at private law firms, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is sending some of its associates to year-long stints at nonprofit organizations.

Tough Economy Is Opportunity to Alter Business Model, Experts Say

By Karen Sloan | February 18, 2009
Law firms are facing the toughest economic challenge in at least 17 years, and there is no quick fix or recovery on the horizon.

Lawyers' Moods Reflect the State of the Economy

By Joel Stashenko | January 3, 2009
Soaring foreclosures, upheaval in the financial markets and the uncertainty, at best, over whether a national stimulus package will begin to repair the nation's economy any time soon have combined for a subdued mood among attorneys attending this week's annual meeting of the New York State Bar Association.



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