Situations Found: 7 Who Lost Jobs to Recession Are Now Working

  • Print.

January 2009 cover

For the January 2009 Recession Issue of the ABA Journal, we highlighted seven lawyers out of work and seeking new positions. Checking back, we found that all are gainfully employed as lawyers: some with firms, others as in-house counsel and one as a sole practitioner. Here’s what we learned when we asked for a check-in:

Jason J. Goitia: A conversation with a cousin at his brother’s wedding impelled Goitia to channel his efforts into the January 2010 launch of the Goitia Law Firm in Tampa, Fla. Effective, inexpensive e-lawyering tactics such as using Google Voice to forward calls and translate messages allow Goitia to keep overhead minimal as he builds his practice, which includes estate planning and drafting personal service agreements. “There is a strong movement in the legal community to embrace technology,” Goitia says, “and I jumped in feet first.”

David I. Bass: Bass’ biggest fear was that his legal career would meet the fate of his two former clients, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. A call from a former colleague led Bass to representing telecommunication companies on leasing and zoning matters. That allowed Bass to recalibrate his specialty skills, and by December 2009 Bass became corporate real estate counsel at American Tower Corp. Bass credits the social network LinkedIn for the ability to reconnect with old friends and colleagues. “While it’s always necessary to have a strong resumé,” Bass says, “a recommendation from someone who knows you and respects your work can get you into doors that would otherwise remain closed.”

Eamonn Kelly Moran: When the real estate bubble burst, Moran shifted his focus to the financial and banking issues related to the causes of the economic crisis. His efforts included a volunteer position as a research associate for the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he published a law review article deconstructing the financial crisis. Today, through a referral from a former colleague, Moran serves as counsel for the U.S. Congres sional Oversight Panel, which, among other duties, reviews the current state of financial markets and the regulatory system and oversees Treasury’s implementation and execution of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP. The ability to target a desired next step was fundamental to Moran’s job search as he networked among the UNC Law alumni. “Right now, a lot of people are worried about their own jobs and can’t worry about you,” Moran says, “but, if you can pinpoint specific ideas or an interest, that often rings a bell in their heads for potential contacts or leads that can be very useful in your job search and help focus your efforts.”

Yee Wun Szeto: Although recruiters praised her resumé and personality, the dearth of job opportunities took their toll on Szeto’s optimism. But the partners of Szeto’s prior law firm, the now-defunct Heller Ehrman, routinely sent her potential opportunities. “Without a doubt, it was the connections that I’d made at Heller,” Szeto says, that were the greatest factor aiding her job search. An ex-Heller partner’s recommendation led to being hired in June 2009 as corporate counsel and controller for Kolltan Pharmaceuticals Inc., a startup biotech com pany in New Haven, Conn.

Eric Lloyd: With just one year of legal practice and a young child at home, Lloyd felt the pressure to jump on any offer. Luckily, former colleagues and law school classmates helped Lloyd to his new position in June 2010 as a staff attorney in the labor and employment practice group in Seyfarth Shaw’s San Francisco office. Despite the gap in work experience, Lloyd says he prepped for his interview by strategizing specific ways he could bring value to the firm.

Samuel Blaustein: Blaustein credits efforts outside the law school box for landing an associate’s position this October. Running his own successful pre-law-school business, working full time as a student and publishing a law review article gave Blaustein a unique perspective that appealed to the late U.S. District Judge Shirley Wohl Kram, who offered Blaustein his first federal clerkship last year. That opportunity opened the door for Blaustein at Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller in New York City, where he practices commercial litigation and corporate law. “Networking, persistence and, quite honestly, some luck are key,” Blaustein says.

Michael Sardar: Since 2009, Michael Sardar has been an associate at the New York City law firm of Kostelanetz & Fink. Sardar did not respond to inquiries from the ABA Journal.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.