Catch-22 for new lawyers

September 10, 2009
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Despite the economy, some firms are still hiring. Unfortunately for those fresh out of law school, based on the classifieds placed recently in Indiana Lawyer, only those with experience should apply.

A closer look at the last few issues of the paper shows firms want people with at least two years experience. It’s not limited to attorneys; a recent ad for a legal secretary/paralegal required at least 3 years of experience.

Perhaps the ads are more of a reflection of associates with a couple years under their belt leaving for a new firm or to start their own practice than the state of the legal employment opportunities.

But the ads show the standard catch-22 when it comes to fresh-faced workers: You can’t land a job without experience, but you can’t get that experience without a job. Firms across the country are deferring start dates or cutting back on recruiting and hiring for summer associates. For many law students, their summer associate location is often where they end up practicing after graduation. A lot of law firms are cutting back on hiring in general, waiting out the economy, leaving some new attorneys with little experience in limbo.

What’s a new lawyer to do?
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