Boston Lawyers Feel The Recession’s Heat

When established lawyers are given their walking papers at even the finest, most prestigious law firms, what’s a working lawyer to do?  And heaven help us, what’s a recent law grad have to do to get a break in this town?

Read the whole article at The Boston Globe

Boom times turn bleak for Boston lawyers
Prestigious firms forced to cut jobs, freeze salaries
By Todd Wallack

Paul Semenza practiced law for 25 years, including work as a defense attorney in personal injury cases. So the Wakefield lawyer figured it would take only a few months to find work after losing his law firm job a year ago. But the economy steadily worsened, and no offers came. Now Semenza, 51, has been forced to find a different way to earn a paycheck – by selling sofas and mattresses at a local furniture chain.

“It’s very frustrating not being able to do something that I enjoyed for so long,” he said. “While I enjoy meeting and helping customers, I really miss the law.”

So do lots of other lawyers. After years of giddy growth in Boston’s legal industry, the party is over because of the recession. Many of Boston’s most prestigious law firms have frozen salaries, slashed bonuses, and cut positions in the past few months. Goodwin Procter eliminated 74 jobs for attorneys and support staff nationwide, Nixon Peabody axed 56 jobs, Goulston & Storrs cut more than 40 jobs, Choate, Hall & Stewart let go 38 people, and Foley Hoag shed more than 30 jobs. In fact, there were so many firms announcing staff reduction on Feb. 12, some lawyers called it “Black Thursday.”

“It’s pretty bleak,” said legal recruiter Linda Kline, managing partner of New England Legal Search Ltd. in Boston.

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