Elon Law students explore changes in the legal job market with John Lassiter
In a February 2 presentation titled, "Time to Move On -The New Normal in Legal Employment," John Lassiter, CEO and President of Carolina Legal Staffing, shared insights into the legal employment market with Elon Law students.
Law students were given the opportunity to learn about which legal practices and markets are currently active and growing, as well as which practices will likely be slow to recover due to the economy.
“What happened in 2009 in terms of recent law school graduates having difficulty finding jobs and cut backs in large law firms will likely be here for a while,” Lassiter said. “Certain industries will be able to benefit or continue to remain isolated from what is happening with the economy. It’s important for law students to pay attention to these healthy industries.”
Lassiter predicts increasing demand for legal services in such areas as intellectual property, healthcare, bankruptcy, complex litigation, family law, and environmental law.
Likewise because of increased competition and scarcity of jobs in the legal market, Lassiter highlighted the importance of location and geographic flexibility in ones job search.
“Larger cities have been hit hardest and seen the biggest decline in jobs,” Lassiter explained. “Therefore, larger metropolitan areas are harder places for new lawyers to enter the workplace.”
Mid-size locations have been less affected by the economy due to a more traditional approach to law, including less specialized lawyers and areas of practice. Smaller towns also have a higher growth potential according to Lassiter.
First-year law student Amy Brodland said she found it interesting to hear how the legal job market has changed and what it might look like into the future.
“Seeing as I am currently searching for a summer position, it was great to learn where and what type of practice areas are growing and which are not," Brodland said.
Lassiter founded Carolina Legal Staffing in 1997 and has offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, Columbia and Greenville. In 2008, Business Leader Magazine recognized the company as a “Top 100 Small Business in North Carolina.”
Prior to founding Carolina Legal Staffing, Lassiter served as counsel in the legal department of Belk Stores and later became Senior Vice President and VP of Human Resources. He has also served as Assistant Attorney General with the North Carolina Department of Justice.
“In the context of the challenging job market, we think it’s important to examine various sectors of the profession for growth potential and to work proactively to explore opportunities in those sectors carefully,” said Chris Smith, Director of Career Services at Elon Law. “We continue to focus on professional development, career planning, and networking events as foundations of our career services work, but we also want to engage students in market analysis and help them consider how their interests match with potential growth areas in the industry.”
The Office of Career Services at Elon Law offers a comprehensive series of innovative professional development activities to assist students with the transition to the workplace. In addition to employer panels, skills workshops, and networking opportunities, Career Services encourages all Elon Law students to meet with the office's professional staff for individual career planning meetings.
In the fall of 2009, the Office of Career Services at Elon Law conducted a series of employment planning forums for law students, with attorneys from a variety of practice settings offering advice on how to prepare for and cultivate career opportunities in diverse arenas of the legal profession. Click here for details.
The Career Services office at Elon Law has scheduled a spring series of skills programs and employer panels, exploring different aspects of the legal job market in depth.
By Danielle Appelman, L'12