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Legal Daily News Feature

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Attorneys Fleeing Financial Firms
By Stony Olsen

In a development that should surprise absolutely no one, attorneys who were working for some of the big Wall Street financial firms are moving in droves back to the life of a law firm junkie.

09/23/08 While Bear Stearns started the process, with Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and others having troubles, it’s only a matter of time before working on Wall Street won’t be very popular.

Why are law firms hiring? At the moment, they are not taking a direct hit and they can offset the loss of business from the financial services firms with increased bankruptcy and litigation work. Weil Gotshall and Davis Polk are prime examples — they are representing many of the troubled Wall Street titans, and their workload has actually increased a great deal as a result. The attorneys from troubled financial firms are attractive to

Being in-house has many advantages, of course. Better and more flexible schedules, shorter days, and, of course, no billable hour requirements are some of the things that attract many attorneys to working in-house. And indeed, for industries such as the clean technology sector, demand for in-house counsel is booming.

law firms because of their industry contacts, and, of course, former employees of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and other companies are not just going to retire. New funds, banks, or other companies will emerge from the wreckage — and the old company attorneys will be a valuable asset to have. But the picture isn’t exactly rosy for Lehman or Merrill Lynch

But for Wall Street attorneys, or rather, more accurately, financial service industry lawyers, law firms are becoming much more attractive right now. Why? Job security and a paycheck — literally. Many of the financial service industry titans were compensating their attorneys with cash and other things such as stocks and stock options. Those stocks, though, are not exactly a great deal right now. Gary Distell, the former lead equity group attorney at Bear Stearns before jumping to Katten Muchin, told Law.com that “being at a law firm and being paid in cash is somewhat attractive” right now.

attorneys. Banks aren’t hiring that much, and there aren’t that many surplus law firm positions. Many attorneys will likely be laid off, assuming they aren’t among those who have gotten the axe already. Of course, with the government likely to stick taxpayers with the cost of a massive bailout, perhaps there will soon be a lot of government attorney jobs available. Granted, the pay for such jobs isn’t the best, but they do offer great security!

Em pl oym entCr ossing is the lar gest col lection of active jobs in the wor l d. We continuousl y m onitor the hir ing needs of m or e than 250,000 em pl oyer s, incl uding vir tual l y ever y cor por ation and or ganization in the United States. We do not char ge em ployers to post their jobs and we aggr essivel y contact and investigate thousands of em ployer s each day to l ear n of new positions. No one wor ks har der than Em pl oymentCr ossing. Let Em pl oymentCr ossing go to wor k for you.

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