Uncertain Times

Traditionally, January has been a good time for lawyers to leave their jobs and begin looking for positions at other firms. This is true for many reasons, but primarily because very little movement takes place at firms between August and the end of the year; lawyers wait to receive their end-of-the-year bonus before they are willing to leave; the fourth quarter is often a busy time of year; and lawyers are ready for a fresh start at the beginning of a new year. This year, however, there is uncertainty as to how active firms will be searching for lateral associates, especially given that there are now firms laying off associates in specific practice areas that have slowed due to the tightening of the credit markets. Numbers show that 2008 summer associate classes are smaller at the big firms and the overall prediction seems to be that the volume of deals in 2008 will be slower than the past several years.

Will those not armed with bankruptcy and reorganization experience be left with little to do? Will associate salaries again increase in 2008 as many believe will happen? Will more firms follow suit and begin laying off associates in an attempt to remain as profitable as they have been? It’s only the second week of January¬†but much is at stake this year in law, business and politics. Personally, I have a lot at stake this year too. I can only hope for the best and hone my skills to adapt to whatever happens in this uncertain time that is 2008.

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