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November 28, 2022 Asked and Answered

Worried about the 2023 lawyer jobs market? This legal search consultant has some tips

By Stephanie Francis Ward

While 2022 was a phenomenal year for attorneys and “anyone with a pulse” and a law license could find work, 2023 might “go back to normal,” says Valerie A. Fontaine, a founding director of the legal search company SeltzerFontaine.

That could mean no changes in starting salaries and bonuses at large law firms, and legal employers may be more choosy with hires. Attorney applicants viewed as “job hoppers” could get dinged, and management may be less flexible with work-from-home arrangements, according to Fontaine. Also, if a legal employer has to do layoffs, she says attorneys working remotely may be cut first.

And for young lawyers, it may be more important to physically be in offices for the coming year to get more assignments, according to Fontaine. She also says there are ways to “recession proof” legal practices in case 2023 does bring a troubled economy.

Send ideas for future episodes to ABA Journal Senior Writer Stephanie Francis Ward.

In This Podcast

Valerie A. Fontaine

Valerie A. Fontaine is a principal with the legal search company SeltzerFontaine and also is secretary to the board of directors of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants. Her book, The Right Moves: Job Search and Career Development Strategies for Lawyers, was published by the National Association for Law Placement, and it is now in its second edition. Fontaine entered the legal search profession in 1981 after practicing law with a prominent Los Angeles law firm.

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