After joining the Atlanta office of Hunton & Williams in 1989, soon after it opened, L. Traywick Duffie was still practicing there 20 years later.
But not any more. The labor and employment specialist, who until March was co-head of his former firm’s practice group, is now a partner at Littler Mendelson. He joined the firm on June 19.
“For my particular practice and what I want to do as I continue my career, I thought Littler provided a more attractive platform,” he tells the Daily Report in an article reprinted by New York Lawyer (reg. req.).
The move allows him to offer more cost-effective and value-added legal services, he explains, due in part to the national labor and employment boutique’s 47 offices. However, “it was a very hard decision. I considered it awhile,” Duffie says.
He is one of many lawyers making significant career changes, as a dismal economy and a seeming seismic shift in the corporate law practice paradigm spur a growing number of attorneys to reconsider their options.
Powerhouse BigLaw firms are losing some of the legal work that was once theirs virtually by birthright, as major clients push for greater value and shift matters to smaller partnerships that are perceived to charge less and handle matters more efficiently. A bloodbath of unprecedented major firm layoffs and pay cuts has resulted during the past nine months, making clear to many practitioners who once assumed that they had stable law firm employment the importance of maintaining a portable book of business and developing a self-directed career plan.
Among the newest members of the legal profession, a significant number of recent graduates are having difficulty finding any job in practice right now. However, there is a professional job available for almost everyone with a juris doctor degree, assuming he or she has the ingenuity and drive to consider alternatives to law practice and mount an effective job search, experts tell the Legal Intelligencer.
“I firmly believe that almost all lawyers with their education have employment security, but not necessarily job security,” says David Behrend of Career Planning Services for Lawyers. By marketing their skills to employers who value them, he says, lawyers should be able to find desirable work, even if it is outside of traditional law practice.