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Advice for the Lawlorn

Ann Israel is the legal profession's Dear Abby. A New York legal recruiter since 1979, Ann is president of Ann Israel & Associates, Inc. and a past president of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants. She answers your questions about finding a better law firm job, dealing with headhunters, resumes, and much more. Questions about changing the course of your professional life should be directed to our other expert.

This Week's Question:

I recently began working with a recruiter who told me about some opportunities. When I researched those opportunities on the firms' websites, some of the firms wrote that they will take applications for the positions directly. When firms say this, is it advisable to apply directly?

Previous Questions:

• I recently saw an advertisement for a position that fits me perfectly, but the firm works closely with my current bosses. Is it career suicide to apply?

• I moved from practicing employee benefits law to office managing a law firm. How can I market myself to get back to the practice of law?

• After reporting accounting irregularities at my firm to the proper authorities, I was laid off, supposedly for financial reasons. How should I discuss this when interviewing for new positions?

• Recently, within the past six months, I have been searching for a new position. I see job postings that, I believe, my qualifications fit perfectly, the areas of practice, the experience, etc. and I have submitted numerous resumes. The problem I am having is that even though I fit the qualifications requested in the job postings, I do not receive a call for an interview.

• After an interview, how long will it take generally before the firm extends an offer?

• I am a midlevel associate at one of the nation's largest firms. I love my job, my colleagues and my clients, but, despite my best efforts, I am having trouble figuring out my long-term prospects at my firm. Should I tough it out or move to a firm that will be more transparent about partnership selection?

• I am a fourth-year litigation associate at a big NY firm and am currently on maternity leave. I am concerned about the impact that the fact that I took leave and had a baby may have on my career and advancement at the firm. Do you have any tips on how to make the transition back from leave easier? Is there anything I should be doing while on leave to help my career?

• I am the managing partner of a small boutique firm. I am not challenged by my practice, and certainly not compensated nearly at comparative colleague salaries. Is it advisable to consider joining a larger firm hoping to attract a more interesting and lucrative practice?

• I'm an associate at a mid-sized firm. Rumor has it we are about to merge with a big national firm. Should the associates be worried? Do associates normally get cut in these mergers? Is it realiatic to think that there is some degree of loyalty? Chances are, if I applied to this firm directly, I wouldn't get hired.

• I'm a Yale Law grad winding up a federal clerkship in a small legal market. I had a horrendous experience with document review a few summers ago, and my goal is to avoid it at all costs. Do you think I can use my credentials as leverage for avoiding this work as a condition of employment? Alternatively, if I show the partners at the firm that I am a fantastic writer, will that allow me to avoid document review?

• Should someone who failed the bar exam on his/her first attempt apply for entry-level attorney positions? Should I apply to other entry-level attorney positions advertised at other law firms or first wait for the [next bar] results before responding to these ads? Similarly, should I consider paralegal positions and, if I accept such a position, will this hurt my chances of becoming an associate at a reputable firm in the future?

• After a few years of practicing law, I became frustrated and went back to school for an MBA. Now after years in management, I have an opportunity to take a general counsel position within my company. What has been your experience with lawyers who go into general management roles and then return to the law?

• I was cold e-mailed by a recruiter about a job I found very interesting. When I checked the company's website, I foung I had been misled about the number of years experience they were seeking. Do I gain anything by applying through this recruiter? What did the recruiter gain by misleading me?

• I am a 2L at a "Top Six" school with no offers. My transcript is all Bs and my interview skills are middling, so my on-campus interviews were a waste. I honestly don't know what to do now. I'd like to work for a firm that pays the market-rate salary, but I think my chances are quite low. I'm considering dropping out. What do you think?

• I am a fifth-year associate at a midsize firm. Last week, I interviewed at another, larger firm and it seemed to go very well. Since the interview, I have been receiving emails from the prospective firm's head of administration asking for additional information. Among the questions she posed is whether they can contact someone at my current firm, who presumably will serve as a reference. I don't want to do anything to jeopardize my current position by tipping them off as to my job search. Am I justified in saying absolutely not, or will this put off the new firm and cause them to pull the offer?

• As a senior associate, I am conidering joining one of the several virtual law firms that lack their own offices and send lawyers to work on-site with clients. Would working at one of these firms kill any chance of returning to a large firm or in-house if I reconsider?

• I'm considering searching for a new job. Would you mind talking a little bit about how legal recruiting/headhunting works? Is it advisable to tell the recruiter everything, for example, that I would be interested in more of a lifestyle firm, or would eventually want to work part-time? Is there any downside to working with a headhunter?

• I graduated and passed the bar last summer. I've been working for solo practictioner as her "legal assistant" since my third year of law school.Although she has said she doesn't want me to leave her office, she claims she can't afford to keep me either or even cover me under her malpractice insurance. What should I do? Take the experience or tell her to backoff unless she wants to make me a serious offer?

• I bombed my first semester of law school and finished my 1L year with 3 Cs on my transcript. My grades improved a good bit after that. In my 2L year I got one A and all the rest Bs. Do you think firms will overlook my 3cs in my first year? Or will these bad grades at the beginning haunt me forever?

• I would like to ask my boss for a raise but don't know what an appropriate salary percentage increase to ask for is. There doesn't seem to be much research on this. Any advice?

• Ann counsels a top 10 Law school grad who had a bad start at his/her first job and was fired. Now, after two years as a solo and looking for a mentor, this young lawyer is looking for perspective on how high the hurdles between his/herself and a large firm job will be.

• I spent this past summer at one of the top 10-12 firms in the country, and was happy to receive an offer, but did one or two interviews at OCI just in case. Lo and behold, I was offered a position at one of the top 5 firms in New York, with a stronger practice group for what I want to do. Should I should go to the more prestigious firm, or to the firm where I had a great summer experience?

• I have just started as a first-year associate at a DC firm, and I am already looking to leave. It turns out that promises that were made in the interview (salary, benefits and workload) were just that - promises. It turns out it was just a line they pitched to get me in the door. Now, I am making $10,000 less than promised, and I am not working on the cases I was told I would work on. To add insult to injury, I have not yet received my bar results, so even conducting a job search would be pointless. Any advice? Please help.

• How can I find out how much a prospective employer is willing to pay? I do not want to waste time going to interviews where I cannot possibly take the job and make ends meet. If I do go to an interview blindly, how can I delicately ask about salary?

• Let's say you got laid off after the crash of '08 . . . like thousands of new and not-so-new associates (and even partners). What next? Well, the job market was bad, really bad. Your firm wasn't the only one swinging the ax after all. So why not take a year off and backpack through Europe or maybe rollerblade across Kansas? Ann will tell you why.

• Ann has some bad news for once and future paralegals when it comes time to land that first post-JD job as a litigator.

• Ann has some harsh truths for a jobseeker whose law school transcript "doesn't reflect his true abilities." She answers his question not so much for his benefit, but rather as a word of warning for law school students and a wake-up call for those already in such a fix.

• As one of the Class of '09 who didn't receive an offer from my summer firm, I have been looking since passing the bar with no luck. I have an opportunity to take an in-house paralegal job, and I hope that I can turn it into an assistant counsel position within a year. Your thoughts?

• Despite my follow up emails, I have received no communication from firms/companies where I interviewed. Is this a new HR procedure or should I take this personally?

• I was one of the lucky ones from the class of '09 who landed a BigLaw gig (a deferred BigLaw gig, but a BigLaw gig nonetheless). During my deferral, I took a temporary in-house job at a small but prestigious finance house. Now they have offered me a permanent position. The salary is comparable, the lifestyle (obviously) better, and the GC is a terrific mentor. But would starting my career in-house close doors later on?

• I am a fourth-year NY BigLaw associate, and I am considering an opportunity at a very small firm. Would I be giving anything up other than some cash in my paycheck by accepting this opportunity? I am concerned with any effects on my career path if I don't stay on with the small firm in the long run. Will this limit future opportunities to go in-house or back to another BigLaw firm?

• Ann is almost stumped by a BigLaw associate who landed another top-firm gig after a layoff, but is fed up with his new job and thinking of leaving the law forever and ever, amen!

• I have been actively looking for employment in the New York City area but have had no luck. The recruiters I have registered with advise me that since I did not graduate from a top-tier law school and since I have no big New York City firm experience, I might as well give up.

• After graduating from a good school with high honors, passing several bars on the first try, and surviving a number of first year cuts at a big firm where I work, I have serious reservations about my career choice. The reason: I am a parent of small children but barely get to see them.

• I have been offered an in-house position, but I have some concerns. First, the company has some history of consumer complaints and litigation. Also, I would be the only lawyer, reporting to a non attorney VP for Legal and Business Affairs. My background is as a docment production attorney in BigLaw, so I have some concern about committing malpractice.

• After a start-and-stop tenure at law school and a disastrous brush with the social work career she thought she'd always wanted, a reader asks Ann how she can deal with her disappointment at finishing up her degree, passing the Bar, and taking a well-paid job at her uncle's law firm.

• A reader says Ann's encouragement made a difference but that Ann's advice to apply to as many postings as you can and get as many interviews as possible is a bit like telling someone to go to Yale Law School to jumpstart their career. Um, yeah, but the question is, is it feasible?

• After being unemployed for a year, I currently have a low-paying, part-time position at a boutique 4-person law firm specializing in corporate law for small businesses. After 9 months of experience, I seem to have no prospects and don't know how to break into the legal field.

• I have to relocate to a different US city because of my husband's job. I'm currently an associate at an Amlaw 100 firm, and am looking for a similar position in the city that we're moving to, however, I haven't told my current firm that I'm moving or looking for another position. One of the firms in the new city has an opening, but the description says that applicants need to provide professional references in addition to a resume and transcript. I don't want to ask for references at my current firm, because I haven't told anyone here that I'm moving, and I don't want to jeopardize my ability to work here for a few more months if I can't find anything in the city to which we are moving. Do you have any suggestions for who I can ask for references, other than people at my current firm?

• I went to a fourth tier school and graduated near the bottom of my class. When I came back to my hometown, I took a few LLM classes as a non-degree student at a top tier school and got good grades. My question is, will it be worth it for me to get an LLM? I am worried about more debt and that, once I graduate with the LLM, law firms will not care much about it and focus solely on my JD performance.

• I always believed that where I attended law school Would matter less as I gained more experience. Now, looking for a position with eight years in the trenches, I see I was wrong. How can I overcome this stereotype of being less qualified simply because I did not attend a top ten law school?

• Recruiters are contacting employees at my company. Is this legal? Is there an effective way to deal with these people?

• Ann responds to a critic who believes she endorses a destructive, workaholic approach to the law; the world of BigLaw, Ann says, is tough, and requires a commitment and sacrifice from those who choose it, but, in return, it provides financial rewards far greater than some other careers that are even more stressful.

• With the urging of my family, I accepted a position with a small law firm about a year ago based primarily on quality of life concerns. I had previously been working long hours as in-house corporate counsel for a large corporation and the position required a lot of travel. Now, a year later, it is increasingly obvious to me that I do not enjoy working in the small law firm environment. If I start to look for another in-house counsel position, how do I explain the decision to go to the firm? I assume that, when I say quality of life, the recruiter will hear I was feeling lazy.

• After being unemployed for a year, I currently have a low-paying, part-time position at a boutique four-person law firm specializing in corporate law for small businesses. After 9 months of experience, I seem to have no prospects and don't know how to break into the legal field.

• I know I need to go out there and meet people to build a career. But people keep telling me I have no hope of finding a job, which gets very demoralizing.

• I am a senior associate at a top BigLaw firm. During my last review, I was told that I would not make partner, and that I should start looking for a job. I intend to interview at boutique firms; how should I handle the question of why I'm leaving?

• I am a junior associate who is contemplating leaving my current firm for greener pastures. I need to formally accept my "greener" opportunity soon, but I would not start until (three months from now). Should I give notice to my current firm now, or should I wait until closer to the time I would (ideally) be departing?

• I am a first-year associate at a boutique firm. I love my job, my fellow employees and the location. However, after working here for six months, I am learning that the money I agreed to isn't stretching as far as I thought it would. But I feel that I have not been working here long enough to "complain" about salary issues with the partners. Any advice?

• I graduated from a top law school cum laude and spent a year practicing at a top five firm, after which I went to medical school and completed my residency. I am looking to supplement my income by working part time as a lawyer or legal consultant to a law firm - any advice?

• I graduated from a law school near the bottom of the US News rankings with a B average. I was admitted to the New York bar, and since then I've worked at either small 1-3 lawyer general practice firms and/or rural county/town government. My spouse is considering a job in Los Angeles. Even assuming I pass the CA bar what are the odds of getting a job?

• I am a mid-level associate who got laid off from BigLaw but found a job quickly at a mid-size firm. If/when the market for lawyers picks up again, will I be at a disadvantage if I try to lateral to another BigLaw firm?

• After a recent interview, I followed up with a letter. Is it wise to also call and express my keen interest in the position I have have heard mixed viewpoints on this.

• As someone who often interviews candidates, I sometimes find it a little creepy when the candidate lets me know that (s)he's researched me - there is a stalker aspect to that.

• I am a hostage of the recession. I'm a second-year associate drafted into litigation, and I just don't like the work. But with the downturn, the corporate department at my firm doesn't have enough work for its current associates and headhunters tell me there are laid-off corporate associates out there that I can't compete with for a lateral move. Now what?

• Ann deals with a client learning what Tom Petty knows; "The waiting is the hardest part." After the interview is scheduled, and the exciting courtship of the face-to-face plays out (they laughed at my jokes and I really, really like them), comes what may be weeks of silence and waiting and heartache yet to come.

• After 15 years out of the law, I want to approach a partner at the NY BigLaw firm where I once worked to see if ask for suggestions on any opportunities for restarting my career. My first thought was to call and invite the partner to lunch, but the legal recruiter I am working with suggested a casual e-mail, with an "oh, by the way" approach to my question. What do you think?

• Will I lose my opportunity to work at a large DC firm if I choose to start my career at a local firm in my hometown?

• I'm a devoutly religious person who's interested in working for a national law firm. I'm wondering, can a person of faith have a career at BigLaw as well as freely practice his/her religion? I would complete my work in a timely manner and am more than willing to put in as much time as necessary and work during the other six days, but if I needed one day per week off for religious observance, would that be a problem as far as face time?

• After a month between jobs I received two offers. I likely would not have accepted either one had I been employed, but I did accept one, first, because I had to, and, second, because I was promised various opportunities to practice in new areas. After a week, it's clear the promises will be broken, that I was hired to be a body to fill a seat. Also, to say things are disorganized in the office is an understatement. My question is, how long am I required to stay?

• I graduated from a low-tiered law school, not because I wasn't smart enough to be accepted to a higher-tiered school, but because it was what I could afford. I'm looking to get an in-house counsel position. I passed the bar in Spring '07, but even with respected professional referrals, recommending me directly to other in-house legal departments as well as to law firms, I can't get an interview anywhere. I am assuming this is because I didn't graduate from either a first- or second-tier school. The longer away I get from graduation without acquiring any legal experience, the less attractive I become to the legal marketplace. Any advice?

• I need your advice on how to transition from a non-legal to a law firm job. My ideal work setting is in the small to mid-size firm environment. I came to New York with the intention to practice law, and I hope my luck changes when the economy improves.

• I was offered a first-year associate position at a major law firm. However, I was not offered a signing bonus. What is the appropriate way to bring this up with the hiring partner?

• I have a question similar to the individual who wrote last week to ask about leaving his or her job voluntarily. The difference is, I hate the practice of law as it is currently carried on in law firms. I am far too entrepenurial to sit and wait for work to be doled out, and far too ambitous to remain unchallenged. I want to make a career change and therefore see no reason then to continue sitting in a law firm. Same answer then, or is my line of thinking more reasonable?

• Is it easier to find a job in a law firm if one's last job ended voluntarily or involuntarily? My current firm was already having financial problems, and layoffs were already looming, before a rainmaker, in a different practice area than mine, recently announced her departure. As layoffs look likely, and as I am already exhausted from months of overwork, from the perspective of finding a new job, is it best to quit and take time off or be cut?

• I just read the question regarding appropriate attire for an interview. I have a more specific question about a proper suit. I am a law student seeking employment for the upcoming year. Some of my fellow classmates have told me that a proper suit is of the same print both top & bottom. However, I have been unable to find suits that both fit well AND are of a consistent print. Some that I have found are, say, tan with navy pinstripes for the blazer with solid navy slacks. Is this a deal-breaker?

• Whenever I see fellow female students dressed for interviews they are wearing skirt-suits, is this the way to go? I feel much more comfortable and pulled together in a pants-suit (no worries about runs in stockings, skirt riding up, etc.), but I don't want to send the wrong message (whatever it might be). I'm also quite tall and might tower over some interviewers - does that mean I should go for flats over heels - something that wouldn't really be 'possible' in a skirt . . . . I can't believe I'm even thinking about this, but it seems like every little thing counts so . . . .

• I am a junior associate and I just got laid off from my firm due to low volume of work in my department. I've been offered a severanace package and an assurance that the firm will assist in helping me find a job, including the use of my office for three months, and that most people at the firm will not know that I did not leave voluntarily. Should I tell any headhunters that I end up using that I have been laid off and should I reveal the real reason for my departure from my firm to the other firms?

• I work in a mid-sized firm that has announced that layoffs will start in several months unless business picks up. If layoffs happen, I would like to try to take an unpaid sabbatical of about six months and then return to the firm once business has improved. Would I be seen as disloyal and thus more likely to be terminated, or would the firm welcome this?

• I became a member of the NY/NJ Bars in January, after graduating from a poorly-ranked law school. Through my own fault, I learned too late in the game how the law school I graduated from would set my value in the marketplace. Everybody makes mistakes in life, except from my read of the landscape, Hester Prynne had better odds in shaking off her stigma than those of us with JDs from low-tier law schools. What is the best exit strategy from the practice of law?

• Ann addresses more issues regarding the law as a second career and offers wannabe lawyers some sage advice about offering legal advice: Don't do it!

• Has there been a worst year to be reviewed for partner? Lucky me, I am going to be reviewed shortly, and my firm is of the up=or-out persuasion of BigLaw shops. My billables are down slightly, but only slightly, and I have no portable book of business. So what should I be doing? Should I wait to hear from the powers that be? Should I be interviewing (although I would stall on any offer until I heard from those powers)? Should I consult an astrologer? What?

• I obtained an LL.M. when I came to this country and ended up opening my own firm. The practice is fine, but I dream about practicing the caliber of law I used to in a large firm in my home country. It seems the best way to get into U.S. Biglaw is to go back to school for my J.D. Any advice?

• A reader takes Ann to task for the advice she gave in an earlier column to a young lawyer who had joined his first firm only to find that lying was business as usual for his boss and coworkers there.

• Ann gets to help with a nice problem to have: A laid off BigLaw associate is having trouble picking between two job offers, one in-house at a major bank and the other at a small firm out of town.

• I got my first job and it has taken me only two months to realize the firm is being run in a way that is totally unprofessional. I want out of this corn flakes box, but I'm afraid staying only such a short time will make me seem pretty flaky myself. What should I do?

• Ann writes: This week’s column is going to be a bit different. I know times are tough out for so many of you (and for so many of the headhunters as well!) and it’s time we all tried to help one another in whatever way possible. Lately we have been reading about all of those 3Ls who thought they were about to begin their careers at BigLaw firms in September as first year associates but then suddenly they have found out that their start dates have been deferred to 2010. To help them through this jobless year, they have been told that they will receive an extra stipend if they are employed by pro bono employers. Of course, those jobs are now going to be at a premium. So, I thought that this column might be able to offer up some help, if at all possible. If there are any pro bono employers out there who would like to have their job opportunities listed at the end of each week’s column, please feel free to email the job specs to the column with all the pertinent contact information. The readers of the column will then contact you directly.

• Is it possible to hire a headhunter to find you a job? It seems that the legal recruiters I have encountered work only for the employers.

• I'm 36 and I've been accepted at a top-tier law school. But I'm concerned I may be trading in my 45 hour a week job at $60K a year for an 80 hour a week job for not much more compensation.

• Ann talks about how hard it can be for a law student to give up his or her dream of joining a BigLaw firm and rising through the ranks to partnership. But, Ann says with regret, that path is not possible for most, and she offers advice on how to move on and enjoy a successful career in the law.

• A headhunter submits a rough outline of a client's abilities and achievements to a firm that isn't actively searching for such an attorney. When the firm shows interest in the full pedigree, how likely is that to end in a serious offer?

• Ann passes on information about a program she says is particularly helpful for people looking to come back into the legal world but might benefit anyone who cannot find work at this time but wants to use their lawyering skills.

• I am a 40-something Mom who graduated law school almost twenty years ago. After working solo in real estate, I took a ten year break to raise my kids. How do I get back into the workforce now?

• I work at a firm where the partners think "lawyering" is the same thing as "lying." I want to get out of here but do I tell prospective employers why when I interview?

• I did not receive an offer from a law firm where I was a summer associate in 2005. Do I have to include that (and maybe other stuff that makes me seem less than perfect) on my resume?

• Why does BigLaw favor less experienced candidates over experienced lawyers who would do the same job and do it better for the same money? Why is this anything but age discrimination?

• With the current climate of layoffs, pay freezes and even salary cuts, Ann has some advice for young lawyers thay they may not want to hear: Face it - you could be next.

• Ann offers some further advice for a female associate not perceived as "tough enough" by partners at her firm.

• I am a second-year, female litigation associate at BigLaw with a reputation for being too nice. How can I convince partners I'm tough enough?

• Ann takes one more look at some options for the 2Ls and 3Ls out there who are worried about their future.

• Ann shares a reader's suggestions for the subject of last week's column, whose job offer was rescinded because of the Wall Street crisis.

• I got a call that my end-of-summer Dreamjob offer has been rescinded because of the econmic crisis. And what are my chances of ever landing at a BigLaw firm?

• Ann addresses a job-hunting tip that could run afoul of ethics rules for attorneys.

• I graduated from law school in May 2008 and I am having absolutely no luck whatsoever finding employment. And, I am far from being alone. Any advice for the law graduates of 2008?

• Do you think second- and third-tier law schools attempt to attract students by failing to paint an accurate portrayal of the job prospects of those not in the top 15?

• It boggles my mind that half of the profession, those from the bottom half of their law school class, appears to be discarded so easily and at such expense.

• Would taking a clerkship after spending a couple of years in BigLaw derail my career in this economy?

• A reader axed for poor performance fears he might have to settle for a NY BigLaw job.

• Readers respond to last week's column on sexual harassment in BigLaw.

• I'm a fourth-year BigLaw associate. On a recent business trip, the partner I'm working with tried to get me to come back to her room for a nightcap. I made an excuse, but what do I do the next time? Is this every guy's dream or am I being sexually harassed?

• As a former law professor, is it okay that people still address me as "Professor?"

• Ann asks readers to help solve the mystery of why this young lawyer can't get an interview.

• Ann discusses "guarantees" of making partner.

• I have heard that many law firms won't accept law clerks submitted by headhunters.

• Would a first-year associate looking to switch firms benefit from contacting headunters?

• What can you do when the partner interviewing you meet immediately lets you know that he thinks you're wasting his time?

• What can you do when the attorney interviewing you for a job speaks exclusively about themself the entire time?

• Ann has some bad news for a young associate who checked his clamoring Blackberry during his Dream Job interview.

• An illness my first year in law school torpedoed my overall GPA to below 3.0. How can I address this with future employers?

6/16/08
A minority female BigLaw associate says she is being passed over for assignments and pushed toward the door.

6/9/08
Would it be worth it to sacrifice my full scholarship and transfer for the useless third year of law school?

6/2/08
With the economy tanking, should I get into Big Law or can I pursue a clerkship?

5/19/08
What is the etiquette for re-applying to a firm you interviewed at but were not hired?

5/12/08
Ann advises a young wannabe lawyer with his eye on BigLaw on which of two local law schools to attend.

5/5/08
My role at the firm I joined a month ago is not and will not be as promised, and the type of law I will be practicing is very different. So I'm interviewing again. What do I tell hiring partners?

4/28/08
I have an incredible amount of responsibility at my current firm. How should I break it to them that I am leaving?

4/14/08
I've been told that if I do not make a counteroffer on an in-house position, it will be viewed as a poor business decision on my part.

3/31/08
What advice would you give a BigLaw associate on breaking into policy and government work?

3/24/08
A recruiter is telling me to not use more than one recruiter. Is this the standard policy?

3/17/08
Resources currently available for out LGBT attorneys.

3/10/08
Can you shed light on how firms make hiring decisions?

3/3/08
My same-sex partner and I sued to get couple's benefits. Should I include that on my CV?

2/25/08
I'm being downsized. Do recruiters only work with lawyers with standout law school grades?

2/11/08
A single "C" from law school is coming back to haunt me.

2/4/08
Will taking maternity leave in my first couple of years as an associate derail my career?

1/28/08
I was offered an interview more than a month ago, and still no date has been set.

1/14/08
My snail-mailed thank-you note will arrive long after I am evaluated as a candidate.

1/7/08
What is the current etiquette on post-interview thank you notes? Is e-mail acceptable?

12/10/07
My job search at first focused outside NYC, and I seem to have missed the boat for BigLaw recruiting.

12/10/07
How can I make sure that my (unsolicited) resume actually reaches the hiring partner?

12/3/07
I'm about to be laid off because my department has no work. Should I tell headhunters and potential employers?

11/26/07
I'm a senior associate getting nowhere in my bid to move from BigLaw to LittleLaw.

11/19/07
What is the protocol as far as working with more than one recruiter?

11/5/07
My recruiter communicates only by e-mail after long delays. Am I being dropped without being told?

10/29/07
How do legal recruiters handle conflicts of interest?

10/22/07
When during an interview should I ask questions on hours, bonuses, etc.?

10/15/07
How do you answer a question like "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

10/1/07
If you were fired or left on bad terms, how do you answer the question, "Why did you leave your last employer?"

9/24/07
How do I hide the identity of my current law firm from recruiters and potential employers?

9/17/07
Can you sanitize poor JD grades with an LLM?

9/10/07
Why don't headhunters care about the firm that they are sending a lawyer to for a job?

8/27/07
I graduated from a top Ivy League law school at the bottom of my class. Can I get hired by the likes of Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, or Davis Polk?

8/20/07
Am I stuck in "small" law forever?

8/13/07
I am preparing for on-campus interviews for summer associate positions, but all the BigLaw firms look alike.

8/6/07
What are the do's and don'ts of e-mail networking?

7/30/07
Readers respond to regrets on taking a job after a better offer comes along.

7/23/07
I accepted an in-house job and signed the contract; then a much better in-house offer came along.

7/16/07
When is the best time to lateral from a BigLaw firm outside of NYC to the Big Golden Delicious Apple?

7/9/07
Ann explains how the the elite BigLaw firms look at potential candidates.

7/2/07
What's your advice on conducting a long-distance job search in a smaller city?

6/25/07
After six years at my firm, I was let go when my biggest client stopped paying their bills.

6/18/07
Regarding references, I have only worked for one firm and don't want them to find out I'm looking.

6/11/07
What advice do you have on the best way to interview while still working?

6/4/07
When making a lateral move, what sort of background and conflict checks should lawyers expect?

5/21/07
I joined a firm just as a mass defection took most of my practice area's work. Then I was left out when my firm recently hiked associate pay. Help!

5/14/07
At what stage do you become a pest following up after an interview?

5/7/07
I was up for partner and was "deferred" for a year. Should I be interviewing?

4/30/07
I flunked the bar on my first try. What can I do to keep that from preempting offers?

4/23/07
How exactly does the lateral process work?

4/16/07
A young minority lawyer is daunted by the lack of diversity at her new firm.

4/9/07
I recently switched firms and states, picking up a signing bonus and moving expenses, but now I want to exit my new firm.

4/2/07
My small firm is offering new associates considerably more than I am paid after three years.

3/19/07
Is there a contractual relationship between a recruiter and an attorney?

3/12/07
I accepted an associate position, but now have unexpected vacation plans.

3/5/07
I accepted a written offer from my top choice firm, and I haven't heard anything since.

2/26/07
I am a minority woman who graduated from a top 20 law school, with honors, and was on law review. After very good reviews of my work, my summer BigLaw firm didn't give me an offer.

2/5/07
I switched BigLaw firms last year to make a move from NYC to Washington, but my firm lost interest in transferring me.

1/29/07
After eight years on the Biglaw partnership track, my career has been derailed by a megamerger.

1/22/07
I am a second-year associate at a large firm and interested in becoming a legal recruiter.

1/08/07
What are the professional ramifications for walking away early from a federal clerkship?

12/18/06
My ultimate goal is to practice at a BigLaw firm in NY, and I'm worried that if I choose Penn for law school that I won't be able to get a summer job in NYC.

12/11/06
After less than a year, I am unhappy with my firm for personal as well as professional reasons. Is it too soon to leave?

12/4/06
I have received no offers. I believe this in part because of my accent and my reserved dememanor.

11/27/06
In searching for in-house positions, would it be smart to contact multiple recruiters?

11/20/06
I'm disillusioned by the way my firm assigns associates without regard for their career goals.

11/13/06
I graduted cum laude, but have been asked to leave my firm due to poor job performance.

11/6/06
Can I say that wanting the "9 to 6" lifestyle is my main reason for moving in-house?

10/30/06
After 8 years, I'm quitting, and I'm afraid the partner I report to will take it personally.

10/23/06
I'm a second-year associate happy at work but looking to relocate to be with my girlfriend.

10/16/06
I attended two law schools. Must both be on my resume?

10/2/06
Two partners recently helped me with a difficult third partner. How should I thank them?

9/25/06
Does your advice to pre-law students -- to choose the highest ranked law school that accepts them -- also apply to the prestige rankings of law firms?

9/18/06
The practice head at my new large firm is impossible to work with.

9/11/06
I am a first-year associate at a large firm, and I am overwhelmingly unhappy with my job, the city, and being so distant from my family and friends.

8/28/06
I am a sixth-year associate squarely on the partnership track, but I'd like to move to another city. Am I too senior to make partner at a new firm?

8/21/06
How do I go about finding a good recruiter to work with?

8/14/06
Can a minority student with poor grades at a top law school get a Biglaw summer offer?

7/31/06
My mother is terminally ill, but my new firm won't allow me time off to be with her.

7/24/06
The only major firm that will hire me is famous for its meat-grinder qualities.

7/17/06
I am passionate about my current job in the music industry but still want to start law school. Should I go part-time or full?

7/10/06
I could transfer to a higher ranked school, but I'd give up a scholarship and law review.

6/26/06
I went to a top 10 law school, but graduated at the bottom of my class. Now I've been laid off.

6/19/06
I have a chance to move to a larger, better-paying firm, but I'm still wrestling with my decision.

6/12/06
I have a chance to move to a larger, better-paying firm, but I'm still wrestling with my decision.

6/5/06
When do I look for a post-clerkship job? Also, How long do I stay in Biglaw before moving on?

5/22/06
Ann answers questions from three readers: one in law school, one looking for a first job, and one Biglaw associate planning ahead.

5/15/06
The day after I faxed my resume, I learned that a partner at my target firm is the sister of a partner at my current firm.

5/8/06
I've been accepted by two law schools, and the lower ranked option is offering me a full scholarship.

5/1/06
I got an offer from my first-choice firm, but I have interviews scheduled elsewhere.

4/24/06
How can summer associates choose between corporate transactional work and litigation?

4/17/06
What is the best way for LLMs to look for a job?

4/10/06
Valuable advice from a European lawyer on crossing the Pond professionally.

4/3/06
After I got an interview on my own, the headhunter who failed me has demanded a fee.

3/27/06
I have committed to a large firm, but for personal reasons I now qurestion my choice.

3/20/06
Is it possible to hire a headhunter to find you a job?

3/6/06
Is it ethical for recruiters to "blow off" candidates that aren't the easiest to place?

2/27/06
How can I tell if a headhunter is reputable?

2/6/06
I work with partners who are so controlling I can't even schedule interviews to get out.

1/30/06
Should I let my firm know I am working with a recruiter and expect to be resigning?

1/23/06
A more "senior" associate has begun to act as if he were my supervisor.

12/19/05
As a third-year, how can I look for a government job without sending out red flags?

12/5/05
A vendor sent out a targeted resume campaign for me. How should I follow up with firms?

11/28/05
Is it a black mark on my resume to quit my firm and then look for a new job full-time?

11/14/05
I'm doing really well at Brooklyn Law. Should I transfer to NYU or Columbia?

11/7/05
Is a recruiter the way for an experienced municipal litigator to join a firm?

10/31/05
I turned down a MYC BigLaw firm to take care of my mom. How can I restart my career?

10/17/05
I haven't been at my firm long, but I want to switch practice areas. Will my boss mind?

10/3/05
I've been practicing law for two years and don't enjoy it in the least. What now?

9/26/05
I just got laid off and need a job fast! What is the quickest way to get hired?

9/19/05
I'm getting married next year. Can I use Esq. on my wedding invitations?

9/12/05
I'm pretty sure I didn't pass the bar, and I'm worried about telling my new bosses.

8/29/05
I loved my old job. Is it foolish for me to consider returning after only 6 months at my new firm?

8/22/05
I've been interviewing, and someone informed one of my current firm's partners. Now what?

8/15/05
I summered at a firm that doesn't extend offers until mid-September. What do I tell other firms while I wait?

8/08/05
I dread the interview question, "What is your greatest weakness?" Is there any good answer?

8/01/05
I always seem to get the job I don't want. When I interview with firms I want to work at, I'm like a deer in headlights.

7/25/05
I am haunted daily by the thought of quitting my associate job, going out on my own and learning as I go.

7/18/05
How do I decide which field of the law to choose when the time comes to interview with law firms?

7/11/05
While interviewing, I never said that I had twice flunked the bar. Can I salvage this job offer?

6/27/05
I'm thinking about leaving the New York legal market.

6/20/05
Would a move to a professional support lawyer position be career suicide for me?

6/13/05
Another fourth-year associate at my NYC Biglaw firm tells me he is making 20 percent more than me.

6/6/05
Can an average academicaly speaking girl be a lawyer?

5/23/05
As a first-year at a small NYC firm from a fourth-tier law school, you discourage me.

5/16/05
During an interview, I feel all is going well until they ask what my requested salary is.

5/9/05
I'm a summer associate worried about the "up or out" life at a NYC Biglaw firm.

4/25/05
My current boss is suddenly very negative about my performance, and I am afraid to use him as a reference.

4/18/05
I want to transition out of teaching law and back to practicing.

3/28/05
I'm a third-year BigLaw associate who hates my practice area. Is it too late to start over?

3/21/05
The hiring partner for a job I want badly says I'm overqualified.

3/14/05
My ex-boss won't give me a reference.

3/7/05
I am having a hard time getting interviews because of one "C" in law school.

2/28/05
I graduated last spring with honors from a top-tier law school, and I can't find a job.

2/14/05
Recruiters who want my resume before they'll discuss a position tick me off.

2/7/05
I'm getting "cold calls" from recruiters pretending to be potential clients.

1/31/05
What is the best way to handle learning about the same opportunity from multiple recruiters?

1/24/05
I'm paying my way through a Top Ten law school when I could have a free ride elsewhere.

1/10/05
How long can I ask a firm to keep an offer open (so I can interview at other firms)?

1/3/05
How can I leverage a summer associate position at a top 10 NYC firm into a career outside NYC?

12/27/04
What is the best way to submit my application materials to big law firms, by mail or e-mail?

12/20/04
I'm a Californian taking a clerkship on the East Coast. How hard will it be to land a NY job?

12/13/04
I have a 50/50 chance of making partner. Should hope for partnership or leave now?

11/29/04
I am a third-year associate with a job offer from a client. Is it to soon to make that jump?

11/29/04
Is it better to work through a recruiter or through a mentor with a lot of contacts?

11/15/04
What are the most important things for a summer associate to consider in choosing a firm?

11/8/04
Out of two BigLaw firms, I'm leaning towards summering at one that gives 2Ls time overseas.

11/1/04
What steps should I take to research a small or medium-sized firm before making a lateral move?

10/25/04
As a 2L, I am thinking of splitting time between two firms next summer.

10/18/04
I wanted to know what interviewing advice you have for second- and third-year associates.

10/4/04
I signed to join a high-flying practice team at a rival. Now, that team is defecting. Without me.

9/27/04
I just completed some call-back interviews. Are thank-you notes necessary?

9/20/04
I got a great counter-offer and chose to stay at my firm. Now my recruiter is threatening to sue me.

9/13/04
I have a chance to join a partner who is jumping ship to another AmLaw 100 firm. So you gotta let me know, should I stay or should I go?

8/30/04
I recently switched from an AmLaw 50 firm to a small boutique, and now I'm dissatisfied.

8/23/04
My department at a top NYC firm has had little work for the past 12 months, and what there is is boring. Should I quit before a layoff bloodbath?

8/16/04
Ann follows up on a recent column about lying in interviews.

8/9/04
As a third-year not looking to move, I'm getting many calls from recruiters, some of them rude.

8/2/04
How much does being on law review affect starting salary?

7/26/04
In the heat of the moment, I lied during my Biglaw job interview.

7/12/04
I want the BigLaw NYC law firm, without the NYC. What is life like at branch offices?

6/28/04
Will postponing law school for a year to work at an "A-List" firm help or hinder my success?

6/21/04
I go to a West Coast, first-tier school, but my grades aren't great. How can I crack the NY job market?

6/14/04
What do women associates wear in the summer?

6/07/04
I can’t come up with good questions to ask about the firm in interviews.

5/17/04
Is it true a candidate shouldn't go into an interview wearing facial hair?

5/17/04
What are the benefits of being a lawyer?

5/10/04
When is the right time to leave Biglaw?

5/3/04
A schoolmate I despise is headed to the same firm as I am for the summer.

4/26/04
I didn't get an offer from my employer after my 2L year. How do I play this in the future?

4/19/04
I feel like the legal profession is the one for me, but the thought of so much work terrifies me.

4/12/04
I wonder if it is appropriate to call partners by their first names?

4/5/04
What are the best law firm options for a first-year female lawyer thinking of having kids?

3/29/04
I'm stuck trying to choose between two schools.

3/22/04
The problem is that although I look great on paper, I am, in truth, a pretty bad lawyer.

3/15/04
Do law firms like resumes with bullet points, or do they prefer a story format?

3/8/04
Would it be bad to ask my summer associate employer for a week off to get married?

3/1/04
A former employer has given me an undeservedly poor reference.

2/23/04
Will the scar of attending a third-tier law school ever go away?

2/9/04
I'm a first-year associate at a large New York law firm and am discovering New York and big firm life are not good fits for me.

2/2/04
When I interview and they ask -- "Why are you looking?" -- can I say, "Because I suspect I won't make partner at my current firm?"

1/26/04
I know working at a big law firm is not a nine-to-five job, but how long are the hours really?

1/12/04
Why is there such a stigma attached to being "laid off" from a Biglaw firm?

1/5/04
Because I am interested in public interest law, I am leaning away from the most expensive law schools.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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