People Love Legal Authority: Reviews

Need Help? Call 1-800-283-3860.
Already a Member? Sign In
"The most common means of obtaining a job was a letter or other "self-initiated contact" with the employer..."

Eagle Law Firm News





''When Law Firms Turn Mean''

One of the more interesting aspects of the current economic slowdown is the fact that many firms have become increasingly ''meaner'' to their associates. Not that all firms are mean, however, attorneys often need to be aware of the conditions within firms to survive. As this article will demonstrate, firms that are doing well economically are often not mean, and it is important for attorneys to seek out firms that consistently perform well economically.

The best way to study this phenomenon is to contrast differing economic conditions at different points in time-in a good climate and in a poor one. For example, in the Year 2001 there were numerous associate layoffs throughout the United States. This contrasts with the massive hiring binge at firms in between 1998 and most of 2000.

When Firms Were Nice

Between 1998 and 2000, most attorneys who worked in these firms did not believe their firms were mean at all. In fact, in order to try and get associates to stay (so they could do all the work), firms tended to be extremely lenient in performance reviews. Interviews of potential hires were often quite casual and not too stressful. Bonuses were large. Firm perks were abundant. For many associates practicing at large firms, their biggest complaint was often that they had far too much work to do. Nevertheless, associates with strong credentials could easily switch firms if they thought their firm was not a pleasant place to work.

For associates working at "nice" firms between 1998 and 2000, they often believed they could do no wrong. When looking for positions, associates were often very arrogant about the number of opportunities they had. In associate interviews, many law students associates would often grill hiring partners about what the firm could do for them and not vice versa. Things were very good for associates.

When Firms Turned Mean

In the Year 2001, many law firms became extremely unpleasant places to work. Performance reviews suddenly turned "nasty" when there had been no apparent change in the quality of the associates work. At many performance reviews associates were outright fired, or simply laid off. For corporate associates seeking to lateral into another law firm - in contrast to what occurred in the "boom years" - there were virtually no recruiter opportunities. With respect to the few interviews some of these associates received, the firms grilled them aggressively and were slow to hire. Bonuses? At many firms there were no bonuses. Perks were cancelled or dramatically scaled back. As for complaints about too much work, many associates were complaining about the exact opposite.

What the Mean vs. Nice Dichotomy Means

The obvious meaning of all this is that when economic times are good, associates make firms a great deal of money and are treated well. When economic times are bad, associates may cost their firms money and their careers will be in jeopardy. Accordingly, economic forces beyond an attorney's immediate control often shape their futures.

However, for all of the criticisms of firms during bad economic times, attorneys at all levels do have control over their destinies and how they can confront economic situations. For example, even during the worst economic times there are firms that treat associates well and post high profits. Many of these firms never turn mean. Even during recession periods, some firms are aggressively hiring attorneys. It is also the firms that grow during poor economic climates that are also most likely to offer the best future opportunities.

In law school, most students do not know what to look for in a firm. For example, during the boom years one of the most attractive law firms to many associates in the United States was Venture Law Group in Silicon Valley. This firm essentially took one aspect of a law firm's corporate department and built it into a law firm doing nothing but this certain type of corporate work. Conversely, a firm that has been around for over 100 years, such as New York's Sullivan & Cromwell, has survived so long because it has numerous departments that complement each other and help sustain it through economic cycles. Incidentally, Venture Law Group is a firm that "became mean" during the economic slowdown. According to what Legal Authority clients have said, this particular firm actually laid off several first year associates who were less than six months into the practice of law.

The essence of becoming a client of Legal Authority is that it gives you the ability to distinguish the good firms from the mean ones which is crucially important in a bad economic climate. By allowing you to survey the market for all of the opportunities that match what you are seeking to do, Legal Authority empowers you to find firms that are actually growing in a bad economic climate. If you are a corporate associate, or practicing in an area of the law that is not in demand in a bad economic climate, finding firms that are hiring is an extremely significant thing: You have found a firm that is likely to be in even better shape when the economy turns around and where there will be opportunities.


When firms turn mean, it is usually due to economic forces. Firms are set up in different ways and, as they evolve they make many economic decisions that have a significant effect on them in both good and bad economies. Finding firms that are set up to weather economic storms is no easy task. The firm could be a very large law firm, or it could as easily be a smaller one. Legal Authority clients are assisted in finding the opportunities that are set up to survive and even prosper in economic storms. By contacting all of the firms in a given city that match precisely what you are seeking to do, you can identify hiring firms and then speak with them. While results differ for Legal Authority's clients, it is not uncommon for many of our clients to get more than 10 offers even in poor economies.

Facebook comments:

' url='' href=''>

Related Articles

Private Practice or In-House? Choosing the Right Path for You

As your parents may have told you when encouraging you to go to law school, having a law degree means you can do much more than simply work at a law firm. Of course, working at a firm can be terrific ...

Another Success Story in the Bay Area

''THE BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF SUCCESS'' ''Another corporate attorney comes through in the Bay Area''...

Major Practice Areas Analyzed

The Landscape of Litigation Litigation is as American as apple pie. In our litigious society, it is never likely to fall out of fashion....

Q: Dear Legal Eagle,

What are the benefits of working in the government as opposed to a law firm? Signed . . .Not Ready for a Law Firm...

Benefits of Working for the Government as an Attorney

Q. ''Dear Legal Eagle, what are the benefits of working in the government as opposed to a law firm as an attorney?''...

New York Versus London Firms

''We say tomato, and they say...''...

Economics and ''Mean'' Law Firms

One of the more notable aspects of the current economic slowdown is the fact that many firms have become increasingly ''meaner'' to their associates. In fact, many firms have become so nasty that man...

''Another corporate attorney in the Bay Area comes through with Legal Authority''

Mark*, a 2000 graduate of a top ten law school, had little more than a year of experience as a corporate attorney with a major Silicon Valley law firm. Mark's circumstance was particularly dire becaus...

Making the Switch from Corporate to Litigation?

Given recent economic conditions, many Legal Authority clients choose to make the switch from corporate to litigation each week. While this is not always the best choice if you believe that you are pa...

One Attorney's Experience: Making the Switch from Corporate to Litigation?

Given recent economic conditions, many Legal Authority clients choose to make the switch from corporate law to litigation each week. While this is not always the best choice (especially if you believ...

"Show us you are alive! We want to hear your thoughts. Please comment on this article (below)!"

Article ID:  70051

Article Title:  ''When Law Firms Turn Mean''

Be the first to comment on this article!

Add Comment

  • Share this story:

  • BlinkList
  • blogmarks
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Sphinn
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Simpy
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • Print this article!
  • Faves
  • Furl
  • Netvouz
  • Slashdot
  • Spurl
  • Yahoo! Buzz

Sign up for a "Free, No Obligation Resume Critique" and "Free Market Evaluation". Let us tell you how much potential you have!
What Our Clients Are Saying
As a second-year law student at a top-20 law school, I was pretty sure that my career services office had my job search covered. I found out, after on-campus interviewing netted zero interviews, that ...
- Christine B.

I have recently accepted a wonderful position at a firm in Irvine that I could not have found without Legal Authority. Thank you so much for your work and the effort you put into my job search on my b...
- Julia

I was a JAG attorney in Virginia, and Legal Authority got me a real estate job in New York City despite my lack of experience. Well, 580 letters later, I got three interviews and two offers. This is a...
- Sheila S.

Your Options
Getting an In-House Position
Myth Versus Reality for Law Firm Jobs
Myth Versus Reality for In-House Jobs
Myth versus Reality: Law School Professor Jobs
Myth Versus Reality: Federal Clerkships, State &...
Myth versus Reality: Prosecutor Jobs
Pro Bono Legal Work and Your Legal Career
Give Yourself the Most Options
Major Practice Areas Analyzed
Starting a Career as a Real Estate Lawyer
Featured Advice
Featured Advice
New York Versus London Firms
Law School for Mature Students
The First Born Phenomenon
The Story Doesn't End There
Economics and ''Mean'' Law Firms
How to Acquire the Best Legal Jobs
The Art Of Networking - A Guide To A Networking...
How To Use Job Boards And Advertisements To Jump...
Finding Your Niche - The Smart Way To Market Yourself
Be an Effective Negotiator - How to Get the...
Legal Authority is the Most Effective Way to Get Your Next Attorney Position
Networking and Your Job Search
The Three Step Process to Finding a Legal Job
How Do You Work With Employer Data at Legal Authority?
Common Issues Faced When Transitioning to a New Law Firm
From the Legal Authority Blog
The Practice of Law: To Stay or Go
+ Click here to read more
The Story Doesn’t End There
+ Click here to read more
Will an LL.M. help my legal career
+ Click here to read more
5 Biggest Attorney Job Search Mistakes
Attorneys and law students are one of the most ill-informed groups of people there are when it comes to conducting a job search. MORE
Legal Authority Outplacement Program
Give your attorneys the most opportunities.
Making economic or strategic adjustments in personnel can be a tough decision for any firm... MORE
Law Student Wins with Legal Authority
How a highly successful Manhattan law firm associate auctioned himself off to the highest bidder... MORE
For Employers
Legal Authority's Comprehensive Employee Outplacement Program.
Give your attorneys the most opportunities. MORE
Our Database and Technology
Legal Authority's Comprehensive Database and Advanced
Search Engine.
National Advertisement
Legal Authority and National Media
Take a sneak peek at the marketing strategies of Legal Authority. MORE
Get the best legal jobs through Legal Authority.
Click here to understand the simple process and utilize our services to the maximum.
Download Now
Get on Track
Get on Track
Legal Authority Core Values
How Do You Work With Employer Data at Legal...
Why Legal Authority Works: Myth versus Reality
What Legal Authority Does
Legal Authority and Law Students
What Is Legal Authority?
Using Legal Authority for Law Student Jobs
Legal Authority Works!
Legal Authority Is a Great Way for Law Students...
What Legal Authority Does For You
Choose Legal Authority
Choose Legal Authority for Your Job Search
Legal Authority Outplacement Program
Legal Authority Is the Smartest Way for Law Students to Find Jobs. Period.
If You Can Register on Legal Authority You Can Get a Legal Job
Why Legal Authority Will Transform You and Your Career
Do Not Let Your School Control the Recruiting Process
Who Can Legal Authority Help
Legal Authority Is Not for Everyone
An Advocate for Attorneys and Law Students to Get Jobs
What Legal Authority Does Works
Why I Started Legal Authority
Some Things You Probably Did Not Know about Legal Authority
Legal Authority Can Get You Your Next Law Firm Job
On-Campus Interviewing or Legal Authority
How Legal Authority Started: You Need to Have Desire to Achieve Your Goals
Legal Authority Works for Law Students
Legal Authority assists more attorneys and law students, at more law schools, get jobs than any other source.
Request More Info
Learn more about Legal Authority
First Name:*
Email Address:*
Phone Number:*