Peter Zeughauser struck an optimistic tone Tuesday afternoon at Berkeley Law.
The Southern California legal consultant, who works with some of the biggest firms in the nation, said that while more layoffs and a few more law firm collapses could be expected this year, things will turn around by the time first-years earn their J.D.’s.
“Despite tough times, the legal profession generally has a strong future,” Zeughauser said in a Boalt Hall auditorium of about 150 students. He said that as world leaders prepare for the G-20 summit, there are signs that the American model of an appropriately regulated free market is the most desirable market for growth, and that demand for U.S.-trained lawyers will continue strong.
Zeughauser was a little less sanguine on second-years, but only to say that they may not have the same summer experiences as students had in the past. But by the time 2Ls graduate, there will be more work opportunities, he said. “I think the market’s at a bottom,” Zeughauser said. “There is already activity starting.” He said he recently chatted with a big-firm chairman who told him that the last two or three weeks have seen a “significant uptick” in the corporate practice, with a big engagement coming in from the Treasury Department to fund small businesses, and about seven new deals in the health-related field in the last week. He didn’t identify the firm.
Zeughauser also assured students that law firms rarely fail. “Heller, Thelen and WolfBlock are exceptions.”
More advice on job placement, after the jump.