WASHINGTON — Alberto R. Gonzales, like many others recently unemployed, has discovered how difficult it can be to find a new job. Gonzales, the former attorney general who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and his associates said in recent interviews.

He has, through friends, put out inquiries, they said, and has not found any takers. What makes Gonzales' case extraordinary is that former attorneys general, the government's chief lawyer, are typically highly sought.

A longtime loyalist to President Bush, dating to their years together in Texas, Gonzales was once widely viewed as a strong candidate to be the first Hispanic-American nominated one day to the Supreme Court. He carried an impressive personal story as the child of poor Mexican immigrants.

He left office last August with a frayed reputation over his role in the dismissal of several federal prosecutors and the truthfulness of his testimony about a secret eavesdropping program. He has had no full-time job since his resignation, and his principal income has come from giving a handful of talks at colleges and before private business groups.

The greatest impediment to Gonzales' being offered the kind of high-paying job being snagged these days by lesser Justice Department officials, many lawyers agree, is his performance during his last few months in office. Then he was openly criticized by lawmakers, accused of being untruthful in his sworn testimony. His conduct is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of the Justice Department.

While he has not taken any full-time job, friends said he was probably receiving as much income from speaking engagements as he did as attorney general, with its annual salary of more than $191,000.