A couple of pretty interesting nuggets have emerged from his experience at the conference, including an item he wrote today on the "Recruiting During Recession and Recovery" panel. The panel included Frank Kimball of Kimball Professional Management, who in another time advised students on how to nail the call back interview. This time he addressed some pretty serious issues, including OCI, I thought you might like to be looped in on. You can read the full ATL item here.
Lat distilled Kimball's advice to firms on how to handle OCI during the "downturn" to these bullet point facts.
- Become more selective -- but don't just mindlessly jack up your GPA requirement.
- Instead, focus on candidates who have strong ties to your city.
- Place weight on a candidate's commitment to private practice.
- Select recruits based on their work ethic and people skills.
- Change the list of campuses that you visit for OCI. Prune it down to the schools that you actually get students from (as opposed to schools that are prestigious to visit, or schools that you recruit from because "we've always recruited from school X").
It's always good to know your enemy/prospective employer, so it might not be the worst idea to take this perspective to heart: law firms do not need you right now. And they can't really afford you, either.
Kimball and Lat both seemed to suggest (or, you know, outright say) that a law firm position straight out of law school is a luxury in these times. And by that definition, most of you will probably be out of luck. React accordingly. Public interest, government jobs, alternative career strategies. Oh, and limited debt. Those are some take-home mantras for you.
Kimball advised firms not to engage in start-date deferrals, which he described as a "band aid" for a "cash flow wound." Sounds logical, right? Too bad Biglaw management doesn't agree (free reg. req.).