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Needing a job to get a job… huh?

Recently, I was contacted by a recruiter who informed me they were working for a client who was looking to fill a position for a Junior Commercial Litigator position for a large AmLaw100 Manhattan firm.  The candidate profile required 1-3 years experience in Commercial litigation, experience working for a large firm and graduation from a top tier law school. I was excited because very rarely do I fit any job description to a “T,” nowadays- as all posted positions seem to want a degree in chemical engineering, 10 years experience, or a 500k book of portables.   But this one I actually did. I began to think I might have a legitimate shot at the very least of attaining an interview. No such luck. I copied the recruiting firm’s response below.


Hi Xxxx,

We just heard back from [ELF#2] (Akin Gump) in New York. Unfortunately, [ELF #2] has decided to pass on your profile. Their primary reason being  that you are no longer employed at [ELF#1].

Regards, Xxxx X. Xxxx

Reece Legal Search, Inc.


I‘m sorry but this is a low blow even from an ELF. If I was still employed by ELF1 why would I even be sending out applications to ELF2 in the first place… especially as a junior associate !!! No ELF attorney laterals as a junior associate to a worse ranked firm? What an outrageous requirement, in this economic climate. Its disturbing to think there is still a stigma attached to layoffs when associates were told that decisions came down to “a flip of a coin” (yes, this phrase was actually used when explaining how the particular associates asked to leave were chosen).

It seems like those who were negatively affected by the economy are the very individuals ELF2 (Akin Gump) should have been trying to scoop up (rather than purposefully exclude)- since these are the very people that have relevant experience in the industry and are intimately familiar with how ELFs operate, plus they will work like there is no tomorrow because they will be eternally thankful to have a prestigious job again given what has happened to them.

Holding out for associates who are already employed and simply want to switch firms seems like a pointless strategy to me since who would want to rock whatever ELF boat they are currently sitting in nowadays?

I guess it is no surprise that this position, to the best of my knowledge, is still not filled (as it has been re-posted numerous times and by numerous recruiting agencies since I applied in early June).

  • Name

    1) The sad thing is that half of the “still employed” people that the firm interviews have probably been told by their current firms to get out, yet are still within that 3-month notice period. So if they think the “still employed” requirement is weeding out associates who haven't been told to move on, they are probably mistaken.

    2) If a firm hasn't been able to fill a position for several months in this economy, and it's still being advertised by recruiters, it might very well be a fake ad. I've heard of firms doing this in order to make it look like all is well.

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