Posts Tagged ‘attorney’

Current Legal Hiring Trends

September 28, 2010

It has not happened as quickly as many attorneys would have liked.  However, legal hiring has picked up.  Firms have been seeking attorneys with substantial portable business in almost every practice area all through the recession.  Until recently, many attorneys with large books of business have been reluctant to make moves.  However, more recently, those attorneys have felt confident enough in the economy to pick up their clients and move to other law firms.  Many of these rainmakers have chosen to make the move from large firms to mid-size and even smaller boutique firms.  They have felt that they will be able to avoid the office politics attendant with mega firms and receive the marketing support and more reasonable billable hour rates to enable them to keep and cultivate clients.  Still another group of rainmakers have found other large firms to meet their needs for marketing support and cross marketing opportunities and allow them to still enjoy practicing law.

Now firms are getting busy enough to seek attorneys who are not fully self sustaining especially in regulatory areas such as healthcare regulatory and energy and oil and gas regulation.  Intellectual Property attorneys remain in demand, especially those with degrees in Biochemistry or Electrical Engineering and those with ANDA Litigation experience.

Labor and Employment attorneys  are being sought, especially those with management side restrictive covenant and wrongful termination litigation experience.

M & A is back and more firms are seeking corporate attorneys.  While it is true that deals are taking much longer to come to fruition than in the past, in part due to a tightening of the purse strings of lenders, firms still need attorneys to draft the documents and put those deals together.  Deals involving middle equity markets seem to be coming together the quickest.

Class Action litigation remains busy in many areas including securities, antitrust, and mass torts.  More Asbestos Litigation cases seem to be going to trial these days and experienced attorneys are needed to try them.

The good news is that positions have been slowly opening for stellar litigation associates.  However, many of these positions are for litigation associates with 2 to 4 years of large firm experience.  This is very bad news for the many stellar 6th and 7th year litigation associates who were laid off from large firms during the height of the recession.  A number of these talented attorneys are having trouble finding positions.

Corporations are increasing their hiring of in house attorneys, once again, especially in regulatory areas such as Healthcare Regulatory, FCC Regulatory, and Energy Regulatory as well as Intellectual Property.  These companies are finding that they are busy enough for it to make financial sense to have an extra attorney in house as opposed to paying more outside attorney fees.

Things look very hopeful for a much better 2011 for attorney hiring and the financials of law firms and corporations.  We wish all of the attorneys and paralegals reading this article  much success in their careers and practices.  We are available to help in any way that we can.

Susan Rubinovitz, Esq. is a former practicing litigation attorney and President of SMR Legal Search, a legal recruiting firm based in Philadelphia that focuses on placing attorneys and paralegals in permanent positions with law firms and corporations in the Northeast and Nationally.  SMR Legal Search provides complimentary resume writing assistance, business plan development and writing as well as interview skills training to the attorneys with whom they are actively working.  They also work with law firms and corporations on assessing and filling their hiring needs and helping to implement diversity and other hiring initiatives.


August 27, 2010

Philadelphia Legal Recruiter, Susan Rubinovitz.of SMR Legal Search was chosen to judge The Pennsylvania Lawyers On The Fast Track Awards sponsored by The Philadelphia Legal Intelligencer.  Susan is president of SMR Legal Search, a legal recruiting firm based in Philadelphia that places attorneys and paralegals at permanent positions with corporations and law firms in the Northeast.  SMR Legal Search focuses mostly on placing attorneys and paralegals in Philadelphia and all of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Prior to becoming a legal recruiter in Philadelphia, Susan Rubinovitz was a practicing litigation attorney for 18 years.

The Lawyers On The Fast Track Awards take place each year to honor those attorneys in Pennsylvania under age 40 who excelled in law practice, pro bono work, community service and service to the bar.  This year The Legal Intelligencer received 106 worthy nominees and this year’s Lawyers On The Fast Track Awards rated the nominees in the areas of advancing the law, community/pro bono service, service to the bar, and other awards won.  It was particularly tough this year to narrow the list down to just 30 winners with so many worthy nominees.

In addition to Susan Rubinovitz, Esq, the other distinguished judges were:

James DeAngelo of McNees Wallace & Nurick – President of the Dauphin County Bar Association and 2005 Fast Track honoree

Dean Roger J. Dennis of The Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law;

John Hanof The Department of Justice – Executive Committee member, Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania

Lorraine Koc, Esq. of Deb Shops Inc. – Vice President and General Counsel;

Amber Racine of Anapol Schwartz – Executive Board member, Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia.

The 30 very deserving winners of the 2010 Lawyers On The Fast Track Awards were announced by The Legal Intelligencer on August 3, 2010.

The winners are:

Catherine T. Barbieri, Fox Rothschild
Liam Y. Braber, Jacoby Donner
Morgen Cheshire, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis
Theodore F. Claypoole, Unruh Turner Burke & Frees
Michael P. Daly, Drinker Biddle & Reath
John V. Donnelly III, Cozen O’Connor
John Encarnacion, White & Williams
Leigh Ann Fiero, Blank Rome
Cassandra J. Georges, Above & Beyond Dispute Resolution
Kevin M. Greenberg, Flaster Greenberg
Deborah Hong, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Kathryn M. Kenyon, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti
Jason A. Leckerman, Ballard Spahr k
Emily T. Lewis, Babst Calland Clements & Zomnir
John Lucian, Blank Rome
Jeffrey J. Malak, Chariton Schwager & Malak
Inez M. Markovich, Deeb Petrakis Blum & Murphy
Steven D. Maslowski, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Mehrin Masud-Elias, Duane Morris
Jed D. Melnick, The Weinstein Group
Michael A. Morse, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti
Alka A. Patel, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti
Douglas K. Rosenblum, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti
Brad M. Rostolsky, Reed Smith
Nilam A. Sanghvi, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis
Amanda J. Sundquist, Unruh Turner Burke & Frees
Joseph J. Tuso, Reed Smith
Lyle D. Washowich, Burns White & Hickton
Denise C. Werkley, Unruh Turner Burke & Frees
Su Ming Yeh, Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project

A dinner reception honoring Pennsylvania’s 2010 Lawyers On The Fast Track will take place on October 28, 2010 at The Union League in Philadelphia.

Using a Legal Recruiter for Lateral Partner and Practice Group Moves

April 26, 2010

In the current legal market, lateral partners and practice groups are in demand by and making moves to new firms more than ever.  An experienced legal recruiter familiar with the legal market and firms in your geographical area can be key in assisting you to find the right firm that will be your “forever job.”

A good legal recruiter can be invaluable in providing you with the necessary information to make an informed decision about your next position, as well as reaching out in a confidential way to potential law firms and assisting you in assessing and drafting your book of business and business plan.  Below are some vital questions that you should ask before engaging a legal recruiter for a lateral or practice group move:

  • Have you ever practiced law at a law firm before?  If so, what size law firm?

As I am sure you know, there is no substitute for working in law firms of various sizes to know about the inner workings and office politics of different size firms.

  • What percentage of your placements have been in my geographical area?

You would be surprised at how many out of state recruiters will look on the website of a firm half way around the country from them and with no permission from or relationship with the firm, start recruiting for one of their positions.   It is not in an attorney’s best interest on so many levels to have a legal recruiter who has no relationship with a firm submit him or her for a position.  Once your resume is submitted to a firm by an out of state recruiter who does not frequently work in your geographical area, a local recruiter with a relationship with that firm cannot then submit your resume for you.

  • Do you have a relationship with the firm that you are suggesting and have you received permission from or been asked by that firm to submit partner resumes?

This is another key question that you must ask a recruiter.  Some firms will only accept resumes from certain local recruiters that they have a relationship with.  You must make sure that a recruiter suggesting a particular firm to you has been asked to provide that firm with partner resumes.

  • Will you assist me in drafting my resume and business plan, and assessing and drafting my book of business, and is there any fee for these services?

A good legal recruiter will sit down with you and assist you in drafting your resume and business plan and just as importantly, will help you to assess and draft your book of business.  There should never be any fee charged for these services.   You would be surprised after sitting down with a good legal recruiter to assess and value your book of business how different the actual value may be than what you estimated.  Sometimes it will be higher, and sometimes it will be lower.

  • Have you ever had any breaches in confidentially and what is your process for ensuring confidentiality?

In partner and practice group moves, confidentiality is more important than ever.  You must ensure that your legal recruiter is committed to maintaining confidentiality and has never had any breaches of confidentiality.

  • How do the recruiters in your office work?  Do you work collaboratively or are some recruiters assigned to some law firms and some assigned to others?

This is also an extremely important question.  If law firms are apportioned between the different legal recruiters in a company and only the recruiter assigned to each law firm will receive a commission on a placement at that firm, then, your recruiter may not suggest certain firms to you that are not assigned to him or her.  You must ensure that all recruiters in that legal recruiting firm work collaboratively and that your recruiter has an equal financial incentive to present you to all law firms.

These questions should help you in finding the right legal recruiter to place you and/or your practice group at your “forever job”.

You Can Be An Effective Advocate Without Being A Jerk

April 12, 2010

After practicing law as a litigator for over 18 years, it never ceases to amaze me how many attorneys confuse being rude and nasty to their opposing counsel with being a zealous advocate for their clients.  I was an extremely zealous advocate for my clients, but was always courteous to and considerate of my opposing counsel.

Being courteous to and civil to your opposing counsel is not to be confused with going along to get along.  It is always paramount that you advocate fully and zealously for your client and do not “give anything away” to gain favor with the attorney on the other side of the case.  However, you do not have to be rude to the attorney on the other side of the case to do so.

Not complying in a timely matter with discovery requests is usually not in your clients’ best interest.  If you are representing the plaintiff in the case, it is certainly not in your client’s best interest to delay the discovery process, as your client wants the case to move along quickly.  In addition, if it is not a contingent fee matter, it may cause your client to incur additional legal fees attendant with unnecessary discovery court hearings, etc.   Likewise, if you represent the defendant in a case, almost always billed hourly, your delay in responding to discovery requests will probably result in extra legal fees for your client, whose interest needs to come before your self interest in billing extra hours in the case.

Likewise, if your opposing counsel on a case asks for a reasonable extension on a discovery deadline, why not say yes?  A short extension will in most cases not prejudice your client, and the opposing counsel will hopefully, remember your courtesy and consideration when you ask him or her for an extension in providing discovery.

In addition, being disrespectful and less than courteous with judges will not gain anything for your client, future clients or for you.  Judges tend to remember which attorneys are rude and arrogant in their courtroom.

In the practice of law as well as in life, the most important thing that you have is your reputation.  Wouldn’t you rather be known as a zealous advocate who is a respectful, courteous person of good character rather than a zealous advocate who is a real jerk?

Recession sees many partners and practice groups making moves

November 16, 2009

While the recession has been very tough for associates, causing many layoffs, it has been at a time when opportunities abound for partners and practice groups.  As one can see from the many partner and practice group moves this year, partners are taking advantage of the many opportunities.

Partners at the largest law firms are realizing that their clients are no longer willing to pay astronomical hourly rates.    Therefore, to keep their clients and cultivate new ones, partners are making moves to mid size and even small law firms.  In  addition to more feasible hourly rates, mid size and small law firms are less regimented, and partners are finding that once they make the move, they are able to practice law and serve their clients the way that they want to.  Many state that once they make the move to a smaller law firm, they feel the highest satisfaction that they have ever felt in their legal career.

Likewise, mid size and small law firms are finding that in order to better serve their clients, they need to add partners and practice groups in various practice areas to have more of a full service law firm.    The clients love this trend, as they can now have the same high quality legal representation and full service that they have come to expect along with more affordable rates.  They have been all too happy to accompany their attorney to his or her smaller law firm.

It is often best for partners contemplating a move to engage an experienced legal recruiter who is extremely knowledgeable on the legal market where they practice.  Experienced local legal recruiters will undoubtedly be aware of partner and practice group needs of firms that are not publicized.  In addition, they have experience at keeping the queries of partners confidential and knowing just when to reveal extremely sensitive information.  Finally, they can help negotiate bringing some members of your practice group with you and assist any attorneys left behind to find other positions.

Legal Hiring Trends in the Northeast

October 19, 2009

As we watch the economy crawl back to some semblance of normal, many businesses are starting to move forward with their hiring. Several job markets that have been stagnant during this economic downslide are beginning to resurface as the “must-haves” for law firms and corporations.

If you are an attorney thinking about making a move as the economy continues to improve, it’s vital to be aware which specializations are in high demand and when. Here are latest trends in the Delaware Valley legal community:

During the last year and a half, bankruptcy attorneys have been in high demand and remain so. The need for intellectual property attorneys has remained strong throughout the recession, and even more positions in that field are opening up. Now that the decision makers at law firms are seeing improvement in the economy and the effects of too many layoffs on their firms, they are hiring commercial litigation attorneys.

Other areas of law where hiring is again coming alive are healthcare, labor and employment, corporate law, environmental law and energy law.  With all of the proposed changes to our healthcare laws and policy, healthcare law is becoming a very hot area of law. With the focus on creating green jobs, the need for attorneys specializing in environmental and energy law should become even greater.  Subtle changes in the laws regarding non-compete contracts have contributed to the increased need for labor and employment attorneys.

Watch our website at, for the latest attorney jobs in the Philadelphia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland so you’re poised to make a move in your legal career when your specialization heats up.

Advances in Economic Conditions Mean More Job Opportunities

October 13, 2009

To be honest, we’re far from out of the woods yet regarding the current economy, but proof of continued and consistent improvement abounds in various markets, from finance to real estate.

The stock market continues to climb and stabilize, with the DOW Jones closing in the top 9,000’s regularly. Real estate prices are now consistently increasing in most sectors and thanks to the first-time homebuyer’s credit and still-lowered mortgage rates, sales have been up consistently for the last six months in many regions of the US.

These markers are proof that although far from over, our downward slide has slowed to a halt in most US regions, and the long process of a climb back to the top of the global heap can begin.

Are you poised to move with the economic current when the growth hits corporate America? The unemployment rates are remaining high, making the competition in all fields much more daunting than in years past.

If you are an attorney and are looking to make a change in your legal career, now is the time to position yourself at the front of the line. The best way to get there? Use a legal recruiter who knows the movers and shakers in your target market.

A reputable legal recruiter will handle your job search with complete discretion, taking into consideration your career goals, your skills and experience. Utilizing all this information, your legal recruiter will be able to present you in the best light to the right Managing Partners, Corporate Law Departments or Firm HR Managers.

Timing, as always, is everything. If you’re thinking about making a move, contacting a legal recruiter to discuss your future plans will put you into the right position to move when the timing is right for you and the economy.

Interview your Legal Recruiter Before They Interview You

October 3, 2009

If you are an attorney looking to make a move in your legal career, you need to be sure that you follow the right path. The first step to finding the perfect career option is to use a legal recruiter that works in your target market. By utilizing a recruiter’s expertise with the legal marketplace in your desired region, coupled with their long list of the “who’s who” in that specific legal community, you increase your chances of obtaining the career you desire.

When you are seeking out a legal recruiter to put to work for your job search, you need to be sure that you choose carefully. Their work can be a significant factor in determining the path of your legal career. How they go about their job search on your behalf is just as crucial as their firm’s connections within the legal community.

During your initial phone conversation with your legal recruiter, take some notes about their process and details to be sure that their legal recruiting firm is the best choice for you. The following questions will give you a tangible perspective as to their ability to best handle your career move.

  • Have you ever practiced as an attorney, and if so, what types of law firms or companies have you worked for?
  • How long have you been working to place attorneys?
  • Does your company specialize in permanent attorney placement or do they do many other things as well? 
  • If your company handles temporary attorney placement as well as permanent, what is the percentage of permanent attorney placement that your firm does?
  • How long has your firm been handling permanent attorney placements?
  • What percentage of the attorney placements that you handle are in my geographical region?
  • Are there any law firms that you do not work with? 
  • How are the clients apportioned at your recruiting firm?  Are you assigned to some clients that you will get a commission for placing me at while other firms or companies are assigned to other recruiters at your firm?
  • Can you tell me some representative law firms and companies where you have placed attorneys over the past three years?
  • Will you be sending out a cover letter with my resume?  If so, may I see what you write in the cover letter?
  • Are you available to speak with and/or meet with me after hours or on weekends?
  • Do you provide assistance with resume writing and the preparation of other submission materials?  If so, is there a charge to me for these services?

The answers to these questions will help you choose the best legal recruiter for your career needs.