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Job opportunities fall at law firms

March 11, 2001 | The Boston Globe: Employment Section

Ripple effects of the economic slowdown are beginning to show up at law firms, according to Boston legal recruiter Mark Kwatcher, with fewer job opportunities for experienced corporate law specialists.

Pickings are even slimmer for recent law school graduates, he said. But demand is up for lawyers with litigation experience or bankruptcy or loan workout expertise.

“This indicates to me that law firms are looking toward an economic downturn,” Kwatcher said. Boston and San Francisco may be harder hit than some other cities as venture capital financing deals and initial public stock offerings tail off from recent highs.

Boston firms still are seeking associates with five to seven years corporate law experience, he said, because they are ready to take on tough cases without the mentoring younger candidates need, he said.

Salaries for law firm associates also seem to have ended their upward spiral. Top pay for the few first-year lawyers currently being hired by downtown Boston firms is around $150,000 a year, Kwatcher said, and he doubts many signing bonuses will be given this year.