There might be signs of a more robust (or at least a more stabilized) legal market, but let's not forget the thousands of jobless law grads and laid-off lawyers still out on the streets. A couple of months ago on this blog, I asked an obvious question: Now that times are better, why won't firms rehire some of those who got laid off during the economic downturn?
I heard from a few partners and headhunters who told me--not for attribution, of course--that those laid-off weren't the top drawer to begin with. The really good lawyers, they contend, never got the ax.
I found that explanation unsatisfying, disingenuous, and heartless on many levels--but especially so when referring to junior lawyers or those in practice areas that basically got decimated.
I was reminded of the plight of those unlucky lawyers recently by Corporette founder Kat Griffin, who tells me that laid-off lawyers are still cornering her for advice about their job hunts, and that she personally knows three lawyers who've been unemployed for a year or more. Griffin offers some advice on how to make it through the protracted job search ("When the Job Hunt Drags On...").
It's bad enough to be laid off, but as one of Griffin's readers pointed out, these lawyers face another potential stigma: being branded as untouchable for taking on certain contract positions, such as document reviewer. So is it better to just leave off low-brow legal work on your resume, if your goal is to return to a big firm?
Several of Corporette's readers advised against putting document review work on resumes, calling it a "scarlet letter." Writes one reader: "If you tended bar to make ends meet while job hunting, you wouldn’t put that on your resume, would you? Approach temping the same way."