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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.

DECEMBER 2000

NEWS FROM THE JOB FRONT

Firm Benefits Cover Domestic Partners - and Pets

Slight Drop Occurs for Women Among Partnership Ranks

Pre Law Firm Education Counts for Paralegals

California PDs Subject to Malpractice Claims

OTHER FEATURES

Legal Trivia

Quote, UnQuote

One More Thing Before You Go


FIRM BENEFITS COVER DOMESTIC PARTNERS - AND PETS

The California law firm Fenwick & West has long been considered a great place to work. In fact, Fortune Magazine recently ranked the firm Number 7 on its list of "Best Companies to Work for in America." One of the reasons for this is the excellent benefits the firm provides its employees. When it comes to benefits, Fenwick has moved past the issue of whether to include domestic partners and now includes domestic pets. Employees can insure their pets as they do their children, for check-ups, surgeries or dentistry needs.

The Recorder

SLIGHT DROP IN NUMBERS FOR WOMEN AMONG PARTNERSHIP RANKS

The percentage of women partners at America's largest law firms has dropped from 15.7 percent in 1998 to 15.6 percent last year. At the 250 largest US firms, women accounted for 14.7 percent of equity partners in 1998, but only 13.9 percent in 2000. Many observers are confident that these numbers will look better in future years. This is because nearly 49 percent of law school admittees in 1999 were women and the proportion of female associates at large law firms grew from 39 percent in 1998 to 41.2 percent. Also positive for women is the number of them with nonequity partnership tracks. Over 61 percent have equity, up from 60.2 percent in 1998 and 54 percent in 1996.

National Law Journal

PRE-LAW FIRM EDUCATION COUNTS FOR PARALEGALS

Those seeking jobs as paralegals often ask what kind of training and experience are necessary. Perhaps the most important factor these days in qualifying for paralegal positions is education. Placement professionals agree that education gives job applicants an edge and also leads to promotions down the line. Said one, "I've seen students with a four-year degree in home economics beat out paralegals with 20 years' experience." Many employers are requiring that applicants have a minimum of an associate degree plus paralegal training. A 1999 survey shows that 21 percent of all paralegals nationwide have an associate's degree, 53 percent have a bachelor's degree and 8 percent have a master's or J.D. Eighty-three percent of the approximately 120,000 paralegals in the United States have received some formal paralegal training.

Texas Lawyer

CALIFORNIA PDs SUBJECT TO MALPRACTICE CLAIMS

Used to be that public defenders did not have to worry about being found liable for malpractice. The California Supreme Court, however, has ruled that a PD who failed to investigate a crucial lead in a case he handled can be held responsible for legal malpractice. The court held that while prosecutors hold wide immunity from lawsuits, deputy public defenders can be sued for negligence by innocent clients convicted as a result of their substandard legal work. That means counties will be required to pay for the defense of malpractice awards against public defenders. The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court wrote that "Deputy public defenders and private attorneys owe the same duty of care to their clients."

Los Angeles Times

LEGAL TRIVIA

Cravath, Swaine & Moore touched off the first law firm salary race by raising associates' starting salary to what amount in 1968?
  
(a) $15,000
(b) $25,000
(c) $35,000
(d) $45,000

(Answer at the end of the newsletter)

QUOTE

"We don't have all these meetings and cabals. This is family here."

    --US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas addressing a high school audience after the court issued its 5-4 decision in favor of George W. Bush

UNQUOTE

ONE MORE THING BEFORE YOU GO...

New York's Sidley & Austin now offers its associates a free membership to Weight Watchers.

  • Trivia Answer:

    (a)  $15,000


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