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At Least No One is Chained to A Desk . . . Yet:
According to an article in the National Law Journal, some law firms are making sure their websites don't broadcast the credentials or contact information of their associates to try to keep headhunters away.
Amid an improved economy and an apparent upturn in lateral hiring, some law firms are trying to shield their associates from the wiles of recruiters offering richer rewards.

Some firms are limiting the contact information about associates provided on their Web sites. Others have deleted biographical and practice area details as well. Still others are said to be scaling back information in law firm directories.

In sharp contrast to the technology bust when law firms wanted to trim their ranks, many of today's firms are running interference in attempts to keep their associates from straying.
I have enabled comments.
greywar (mail) (www):
I knew I should have gone to law school! Darn that recruiter and his silken tongued promises! :)
3.9.2005 12:56am
Tom Grey - Liberty Dad (mail) (www):
You might suggest associates, whose employers are reducing contact info, take that as a signal of higher value -- and ask for a raise.

Or, go to a head hunter themselves, directly, and see what their job-bouncing market value is, before asking for a raise.

More money should go to associates, less to partners.
3.9.2005 3:25am
Anonymous Law Student:
All the associates I know get at least 1-2 calls a day from headhunters.

It's a mixed bag- on the one hand, now they're not getting recruited for something better as easily, but on the other, they're not being bothered by generally annoying telemarketing as much.

Most of them don't mind.
3.9.2005 3:31am
meep (mail) (www):
I guess they have to do it the old-fashioned way... getting names, numbers, and info from others and calling around. I've contacted recruiters before, just to see what was available... but wasn't interested in what they had -- so I gave them names and numbers of co-workers who I thought might be interested. Sure, it's more work for the recruiter, but they might get more useful info this way, rather than going for a scattershot approach.
3.9.2005 6:53am
Joe Kristan (mail) (www):
I don't know how it works with lawyers, but we took down our CPA firm associates page when we found out that headhunters were using it as an online catalogue. Our people still get calls, as we expect good people will, but why make it any easier for other people to hire away valued employees?
3.9.2005 6:54am
Adam (mail) (www):
During the week that my last lateral move was announced in the local business journal, I got 5 calls from various financial planners seeking to advise me. That was annoying.

The headhunters? Want to discourage your associates from using them? Make them happier with the job they have. Always sufficed for me.
3.9.2005 7:27am
Proud Gen Y Slacker (mail):
It's the same thing as the last article. Partners complain a lot, and they pay associates decent salaries, but they don't really understand how markets work, and they don't like them. It's amusing that they can spend all day talking about the efficiency of takeover defenses and deal protection, but they haven't a clue about the same thing happening to their associates.
3.9.2005 8:49am
countertop (mail):
Haven't gotten any recruiter calls since I left the law firm world, though at the height of the tech boom here in DC (1999-2000) I was getting somewhere on the average of 5-6 a day every day. I think, of the thousands of calls I got, something like 3 actually interested me and a little digging revealed that they were not actually the positions that the recruiter was selling.

As far as I am concerned, law firm recruiters occupy a level even lower than journalists and lawyers.
3.9.2005 10:06am
Been There, Done That:
What better confirmation that associates are viewed as fungible billing units, not potential partners.

Reducing contact information for associates also reduces their professional profile, clout, ability to attract clients, and career value.

If these associates were considered potential partner materials, the firm would want to brag about their bona fides and help them develop a practice.
3.9.2005 10:31am
Belchfire:
Consider that the rules of professional conduct generally prohibit non-compete agreements. Associates that leave can take clients with them.
3.9.2005 11:08am
Speedwell (mail):
I like to know as much as I can about a lawyer before I hire one. Call me crazy.

If the choice falls between an individual I know little about and another I know a good bit about, I'll always pick the one I know more about.

This seems too simple. What's wrong with it?
3.9.2005 12:30pm
Anonymous:
Can't you just run a Martindale search anyway?
3.9.2005 12:31pm
TomHynes (mail):
1. Isn't all the information available in Martindale Hubbell, or am I dating myself by asking that question?

2. Most businesses don't publish resumes of the worker bees. Maybe law firms are just starting to act like normal businesses.
3.9.2005 12:35pm
Been There, Done That:
exactly.... "worker bees," not learned professionals considered as future partners.

Firms should not be surprised that "worker bees" will migrate toward the most honey. they're not going to have a stake in the hive.
3.9.2005 1:04pm
3L:
I suppose that explains why I couldn't look up my friend at Cravath the other day. I can't even tell who works there anymore.
3.9.2005 1:59pm
Anonymous:
I wanted to hire a guy who had the guts to speak honestly and say he'd leave our firm if we couldn't match better offers from other firms. I was overruled. They prefer people who will lie to us and profess loyalty.
3.9.2005 2:27pm
alkali (mail):
Can't you just run a Martindale search anyway?

Attorneys appear in Martindale only if their firms provide that information. At least a couple firms I know of don't list their associates in Martindale.
3.9.2005 3:28pm
SteveL (mail) (www):
I'm with Been There Done That, probably because I've been there and done that. Being an Associate is a lousy job. I wouldn't go back to a law firm unless I was in dire financial need. I'd rather be a carpenter. I imagine that more and more associates start feeling that way a few years out of law school and many are taking in house or business positions with clients.
3.9.2005 4:32pm
Ted Baxter (mail):
Belchfire: My firm is trembling in its boots at the thought that I'm may take AT&T, Microsoft, and Wells Fargo with me when I leave.
3.9.2005 5:01pm
Proud Gen Y Slacker (mail):
Associates could always strike. Sure, it would probably put the firm under and screw everyone over in the end, but it would be a hoot to watch.
3.9.2005 5:16pm
Robert Schwartz (mail):
What better confirmation that associates are viewed as fungible billing units, not potential partners.
* * *
If these associates were considered potential partner materials, the firm would want to brag about their bona fides and help them develop a practice.


The humorous part comes when they make partner and they are still treated as fungible billing units.

Oh yes and do not expect a law firm to invest in developing an associate. Law firms only invest in fancy conference rooms and accounts receivable.

If you want to learn what law firm partners really think about associates watch this movie.
3.10.2005 12:33am
PG (mail) (www):
"wiles of recruiters," "running interference in attempts to keep their associates from straying."

Next we'll have counseling for the damaged relationship between a firm and an associate who's been exploring "seeing other firms."

A better way to prevent straying.
3.10.2005 10:54am
Sean Sirrine (mail) (www):
Hello, I am looking for future, present or past law school students to help create a blog to provide resources and discussion for law students. If anyone out there would be interested in contributing, send me some e-mail or check out the beta: objectivejustice.blogspot.com
3.14.2005 4:08am