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FROM THE JOB FRONT

FROM THE JOB FRONT is EmplawyerNet's monthly newsletter covering the latest developments in the area of legal employment -- and a few other things. FROM THE JOB FRONT is published as a service of EmplawyerNet, the online interactive legal employment network.

OCTOBER 2001

NEWS FROM THE JOB FRONT

Firms Try Online Interviews

Brobeck Offers Sabbaticals, Part-Time Schedules

Firms Focus on Performance in Making Cuts

Salaries Jump for Chief Legal Counsel

OTHER FEATURES

Legal Trivia

Quote, UnQuote

One More Thing Before You Go

FIRMS TRY ONLINE INTERVIEWS

Some thought it would never happen while others thought it was only a matter of time. "It" is online interviews. Nine law schools are participating in a pilot program launched this fall that lets students connect with firms over the Internet. The process starts with a written interview focusing on the firm's culture. The next step is a teleconferencing-type interview online. The interview consists of six questions chosen in advance by the law firm. Candidates must respond in real time and are not allowed to start over or edit their responses. Candidates who meet the firms' approval are then invited to meet face-to-face. The law schools participating in the pilot project are the University of Wisconsin, American University, Boston University, Emory, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina, University of Texas, William & Mary and Washington University.

National Jurist

BROBECK OFFERS SABBATICALS, PART-TIME SCHEDULES

San Francisco's Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, one of the participants in the recent associate salary wars is now taking the lead in dealing with the aftermath. The 900-lawyer firm now has a voluntary program that allows partners and associates to take unpaid time off without losing their benefits. The recommended time for sabbaticals is one month. Another option offered to Brobeck lawyers a three-day workweek. The firm reports that billable hours are down more than twelve percent compared to last year. In addition to these initiatives, the firm has acted to cut costs on meals, travel, entertainment and staff overtime. Brobeck hired over 330 lawyers in 2000.

The Recorder

FIRMS FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE IN MAKING CUTS

Another approach firms are taking in dealing with the downturn in business is focusing on performance issues and cutting those who, well, don't cut it. The firms hope that this, combined with natural attrition will help address any over hiring that may have taken place in recent years. Responding to this situation, a representative of a national legal recruiting firm said that "[Law firms] are piddling out people like an old lady that's lost control of her bladder." One other popular approach to the same situation is law firms moving associates to their busier departments that have work. This means many transactional attorneys, for example, are doing litigation work.

American Lawyer Media

SALARIES JUMP FOR CHIEF LEGAL COUNSEL

While law firm lawyers are feeling the pinch, top lawyers at American corporations won't need to pinch any pennies. Top legal counsel for America's largest corporations have seen their salaries increase by over 50 percent during the last four years. Just last year, total compensation packages that include salaries, bonus, stock options and other incentives jumped 23 percent. Bonuses, which grew by 39 percent last year for chief legal officers, were the main reason for the dramatic increase. Increased bonuses have been attributed to the fact that many of these lawyers have expanded the scope of their work from strictly legal into more managerial work.

Corporate Counsel

LEGAL TRIVIA

A recent survey of summer associates posed the question: "Why do you want to become a lawyer?" Rank the following responses according to how often they were mentioned by summer associates.
  
(a)Good pay.
(b)I want to help people.
(c)I like to argue.
(d)Interesting and intellectually challenging work.
(e)I'm not sure what I want to do and the law provides many options.

(Answer at the end of the newsletter)

QUOTE

"Lower salaries a bit if you have to but stop bugging us about billable hours."

    --An associate commenting on his firm's policies in an American Lawyer survey

UNQUOTE

ONE MORE THING BEFORE YOU GO...

When called up on stage by a comedian at a comedy club, a Georgia man confessed to committing several bank robberies. "I have something on my mind that I want to share with you," the man said during the performance. The club owner had the police called and the man was arrested.

  • Trivia Answer:

      The most common response was (d) the work is interesting and challenging (79%). That was followed by (a) good pay (61%), (b) I want to help people (43%), (ca) I like to argue (39%) and (e) I'm not sure what I want to do (36%).


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