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The Long Road to Recovery

November 20, 2009

A friend of mine tried to convince me that the recession was over. He mentioned that all signs were pointing up.  Really?  Last I checked, here’s what was going on:

  • Firms were still laying off folks, albeit in smaller numbers rather than mass cuts.
  • Some firms, looking to avoid layoffs, were reucing salary by 10-20 percent.
  • At least one firm was requiring non-equity partners to provide an interest-only loan to the firm as their “equity” buy-in and contribution.
  • Perhaps most troubling: a lot of firms have been cancelling their annual holiday parties.

True, the downturn has slowed somewhat.  It does now, however, mean that things are on the way back up.  Rather than “it can’t get any worse,” think of it as “it can’t get worse as quick as it did.” 

I’m currently at a national bar association convention.  IN speaking to some current law students, I found out some shocking realities.  At Northeastern Law School, as of the middle of November, the entire second year class of about 200  has a grand total of SEVEN students who have secured 2010 summer associate slots.  I was told that at Boston College, the number is about 10.  Some law schools are now even considering offering summer classes as a way to give their students who don’t have summer jobs something to do. 

So, things will get better eventually, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of immediate optimism just yet.

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