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Riches to Rags- "Attorney Reductions in Force" August 18, 2009

Posted by admin in : Tales , trackback

At this point last year I was studying for the New York bar exam with a job offer in hand and a brand new lease on a prime New York City apartment— with a balcony view of the Empire State Building.  I felt as if I was on top of the world… oh how quickly things change.

During law school I was courted heavily by many large Wall Street firms.  I was treated to lavish lunches, sent gift baskets in the mail, was provided with tickets to the newest Broadway shows and hottest sporting events.  At the outset, let me make clear I never felt an “entitlement” to this kind of lifestyle, or even condoned these type of recruiting tactics.  In fact at times, even as the one being wooed, I could only laugh to myself at the absurdity of such unnecessary opulence these elite firms would go through to land top legal grads.    But, at the end of the day, in my mind, all the hard work– long nights intently reading and marking up law books, editing journal articles,  and more often than not skipping enticing offers to socialize during College and Law School— had finally paid off.   I was all set to start the ascent towards my American dream.  After-all, I was being paid handsomely for what I loved to do and was learning to do so in one of the best environments anyone in the profession could hope for.  Best of all, I had the unique opportunity to help clients through the substantial pro bono efforts of the firm.  At the time, I thought to myself, “how could it get any better than this?”

Unfortunately, the economy, and perhaps even fate, had other plans for me.  I was included in what the firm called a “reduction in attorney force in response to the current economic conditions” (along with one hundred and ninety colleagues of mine).  Within one day after the announcement, my desk had been cleared, my security badge deactivated and my matters transferred to other attorneys. I went from riches to rags in a matter of one day.

I am a member and frequent searcher of:,,,, and In addition to these sites, I regularly check the postings on,, and craigslist.

Since March, I  have applied to over 300 direct attorney job postings and have sent over 100 inquiry letters to firms with no jobs posted asking about lateral attorney positions.   On average I send my resume out and a personalized cover letter 10 times per week day and spend 3-5 hours each of these days searching for and applying to attorney jobs. I also have somewhere near a dozen headhunters/recruiters working to find me a position. These efforts over the course of 6 months have landed me 20 written rejection letters,  16 rejection e-mails and a whopping total of 2.6 futile interviews (the use of this odd number will be explained in a subsequent post). One with Bloomberg (see post), one with a litigation boutique in DC (the only normal interview), 1/2 of an interview with the 2nd Appellate Division of NY (see post), and 1/10 of an interview with a  NY litigation boutique ( interview was cancelled by the firm).

Welcome to my Blog.

  • Small Town Boy in the Big City « Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

    [...] of those aspects of firm life when Jobless Lawyer reached out to me.  In his first blog entry Rags to Riches, he (or she (not sure, gender isn’t specified)) detailed the some of the wonderful and silly [...]

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    It is like you became a fourth tier, C average graduate over night. Good luck.

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