The attorneys at Stites & Harbison were recently given pause by an article posted online by BusinessInsider.com that expounded on a survey conducted by The American Lawyer.
The article posted by Business Insider claims that Stites is one of the 10 worst law firms in the country to work for — based on a survey of mid-level associates by The American Lawyer, which sent 12 questions to more than 5,600 attorneys nationwide. At least 10 attorneys associated with a firm had to respond in order to be included on the list.
Business Insider gathered the bottom 10 on American Lawyer's list and headed to a website called Glassdoor.com, which gathers anonynmous comments about companies from employees and job seekers. One of the comments lifted from that site and posted to the article read "Scraping for work. Partners don't spend enough time teaching young associates to develop clients and create work."
Interestingly, that comment was posted on Glassdoor in 2010 by an employee that gave the firm three out of five stars and also stated that a reason to work for the firm was, "Pay and prestige. Look — seems shallow but the work is exciting you certainly keep gleen some cache from working there." It was also written in 2010. The only two other Stites employees that commented gave the firm top marks and said, "It's like a big family" and “Excellent camaraderie."
Much, much higher to the top of American Lawyer's list is Baker Donelson, which came in third out of 129 qualifying firms based on the responses from 17 of its attorneys.
Bottom line is we don't know if Stites is a good place to practice law or not — or that Baker is so much better — and neither do the folks at Business Insider. But we do know what all attorneys teach us when reading most anything: Check the fine print.
The Legal Aid Society has teamed up with Shade Tree Clinic, a venture run by Vanderbilt School of Medicine students, to offer basic legal services — think Social Security issues or housing assistance — to the clinic's patients. As part of the partnership, Legal Aid attorney Chay Sengkhounmany (pictured) is spending time at eight-year-old Shade Tree three days a month.
Shade Tree is a free medical clinic that Vanderbilt medical students have run since 2004. Brad Lindell, a former Vanderbilt medical student volunteer who helped organize the MLP explained, “the idea of adding legal assistance to Shade Tree became clear once I saw the success that my wife’s law firm had with its partnership with a Boston medical clinic. Our patients face many of the same issues that she had seen in Boston. We knew that adding the legal component to our services would help make our medical treatment more successful.”
A report on the 2011 starting salaries of new law school graduates doesn't make for pretty reading. The average starting salary fell 6.5 percent, the median package by 5 percent, says NALP. The biggest contributor to the drop was a hiring pullback at the country's largest firms.
The most significant finding of NALP's hiring survey was that the percentage of recent graduates in law firm jobs dipped below 50 percent for the first time in the 38 years that the organization has been tracking employment. The biggest drop-off in hiring was at the largest law firms, which tend to pay the highest salaries. NALP's new salary statistics reflect the constriction of law firm jobs that pay new associates $160,000 a year.
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