Kathy Snead

Legal secretary Kathy Snead realized that the economy was going south when, starting in January, 2008, her work dried up. “I wasn’t busy for 14 months before I was laid off,” said Snead, of Philadelphia.
Her firm’s biggest clients, mainly investment bankers, stopped doing deals. “The lawyer I was working for came out and said, `It’s the weirdest thing. They have money, but they aren’t investing in anything,’” Snead recalled. “I said to her, `That’s how it is in a recession.’”

Kathy Snead

Snead has more than the usual credentials to speak with such authority. She has an undergraduate degree in labor economics and economic history and she got as far as her dissertation for her PhD. (A messy divorce and the need to support two young children interfered with the completion of her graduate studies at Penn).

“The recession has really made me interested in economics again,” Snead said. “This would have been a textbook depression if it weren’t for government intervention.

“Being an economic historian, we look at structural changes and what the recession has done is speeded up structural changes that were happening already,” she said. Disappearing at an accelerating rate are jobs that require less education.
“It’s capital replacing labor,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in income inequality and I think the recession is exacerbating income inequality.”

Coincidentally, Snead once worked on securities litigation involving fallout from financier Michael Milken’s insider trading – a practice that resulted in him serving prison time for securities fraud.

When Snead was finally laid off from Greenberg Taurig in March 2009, she started KS Outsourcing Solutions Inc., a business providing office support to small businesses. It was an exhilarating experience, but the tough economy overran it in Oct. 2010.
Since then, she’s back looking for work. Her first choice would be the opportunity to use her legal experience in a non-law firm setting, simply because it would be something different for her, and useful for a potential employer.
Snead has tried to stay upbeat.

“I always promised myself I’d do something else after the children were grown. I’ve tried to view getting laid off as an opportunity, but that’s getting a little harder now. “

She received her last unemployment check on March 3.

“I think the economy will continue much as it is for awhile,” she said. “It’s a jobless recovery.”

Update: As of December 2011, Snead is working fulltime at a law firm.

Hometown: Philadelphia
Profession: Legal secretary, business owner
Experience: Drafted, revised, proofread structured finance documents. Coordinated closings. Organized documents for Orphans Court trials. Assisted with merger. Maintained claims databases. Supervised clerical staff.
Education: University of Kentucky – bachelor’s degree in economics. University of Pennsylvania – ABD in economics, specializing in labor economics
E-mail address: Mksnead@yahoo.com
See Kathy Snead’s resume here


The Inquirer is not endorsing this individual as a job candidate; potential employers should do their own background checks.


Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or jvonbergen@phillynews.com.