Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

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Anonymous User
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Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:13 pm

I work this summer at a 'top' law firm. Which one doesn't really matter; they're all the same.

I was talking to an attorney at an event recently where we were being unusually candid (I'm sure the drinks helped). In the course of the conversation, she realized many students hadn't about Latham, because the blood was spilled before we started paying attention to firms.

Amusingly, she reported that cold calls from head hunters looking for laterals at Latham were picking up. Once she realized the call was about Latham, she would just hang up. She was surprised to hear they could fill a summer class at all.

Here's the above the law post about Latham's decision to let hundreds go in early 2009: http://abovethelaw.com/2009/02/nationwi ... ng-for-it/

There are legitimate reasons to work for such a firm, especially since the crisis is over and hopefully over-staffing will be less likely going forward. Latham was also hardly the only firm hit by the crisis or the only firm to do layoffs, but it was probably the best regarded to initiate massive purges.

Still, as rising 2Ls begin to look into firms, keep in mind that a lot of these firms recently hit the rocks. It might not be a deciding factor in your choices, especially given the importance of getting something out of OCI - but be sure to dig into the recent history of these firms as you continue your research.

BlueDiamond
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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby BlueDiamond » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:18 pm

wait.. so research an employer before dedicating 2500 billable hours a year to them? what a novel idea!

09042014
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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby 09042014 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I work this summer at a 'top' law firm. Which one doesn't really matter; they're all the same.

I was talking to an attorney at an event recently where we were being unusually candid (I'm sure the drinks helped). In the course of the conversation, she realized many students hadn't about Latham, because the blood was spilled before we started paying attention to firms.

Amusingly, she reported that cold calls from head hunters looking for laterals at Latham were picking up. Once she realized the call was about Latham, she would just hang up. She was surprised to hear they could fill a summer class at all.

Here's the above the law post about Latham's decision to let hundreds go in early 2009: http://abovethelaw.com/2009/02/nationwi ... ng-for-it/

There are legitimate reasons to work for such a firm, especially since the crisis is over and hopefully over-staffing will be less likely going forward. Latham was also hardly the only firm hit by the crisis or the only firm to do layoffs, but it was probably the best regarded to initiate massive purges.

Still, as rising 2Ls begin to look into firms, keep in mind that a lot of these firms recently hit the rocks. It might not be a deciding factor in your choices, especially given the importance of getting something out of OCI - but be sure to dig into the recent history of these firms as you continue your research.


Latham probably gets somewhat of a bad rap just because they were the first to start laying people off.

--ImageRemoved--

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UnitarySpace
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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby UnitarySpace » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:40 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I work this summer at a 'top' law firm. Which one doesn't really matter; they're all the same.

I was talking to an attorney at an event recently where we were being unusually candid (I'm sure the drinks helped). In the course of the conversation, she realized many students hadn't about Latham, because the blood was spilled before we started paying attention to firms.

Amusingly, she reported that cold calls from head hunters looking for laterals at Latham were picking up. Once she realized the call was about Latham, she would just hang up. She was surprised to hear they could fill a summer class at all.

Here's the above the law post about Latham's decision to let hundreds go in early 2009: http://abovethelaw.com/2009/02/nationwi ... ng-for-it/

There are legitimate reasons to work for such a firm, especially since the crisis is over and hopefully over-staffing will be less likely going forward. Latham was also hardly the only firm hit by the crisis or the only firm to do layoffs, but it was probably the best regarded to initiate massive purges.

Still, as rising 2Ls begin to look into firms, keep in mind that a lot of these firms recently hit the rocks. It might not be a deciding factor in your choices, especially given the importance of getting something out of OCI - but be sure to dig into the recent history of these firms as you continue your research.


Latham probably gets somewhat of a bad rap just because they were the first to start laying people off.

--ImageRemoved--


That is an excellent chart good sir. What is the source? Also, do you have numbers on more firms?
Last edited by UnitarySpace on Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby fatduck » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:41 pm

UnitarySpace wrote:That is an excellent chart good sir. What is the source? Also, do you have numbers on more firms?


http://lawshucks.com/layoff-tracker/

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby UnitarySpace » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:44 pm

fatduck wrote:
UnitarySpace wrote:That is an excellent chart good sir. What is the source? Also, do you have numbers on more firms?


http://lawshucks.com/layoff-tracker/


thanks thanks

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby Cavalier » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:57 pm

Latham probably gets somewhat of a bad rap just because they were the first to start laying people off.

That's part of it, but their bad rap also comes from laying off a huge number of first year associates, which is quite a terrible thing to do. Career prospects for people laid off with two or more years in big law are far from hopeless; even though getting laid off sucks, these people can often find employment at respectable firms. But being laid off with only four months of big law experience is basically equivalent to having graduated jobless, and Latham's decision put many people in a worse position than if they had simply been no-offered at the end of the summer (when they at least would have gone for clerkships and otherwise have had a year to look for a job). Latham certainly isn't the only firm to have laid off first years, but I think they laid off more first years than just about any other firm (maybe White & Case rivals them).

That said, Latham supposedly gave a better severance package than many firms did.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby JusticeJackson » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:03 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:07 pm

The fact that Latham laid off so many 1st and 2nd year associates KNOWING they would be totally screwed for life reflects the fact that Latham partners are heartless bastards. Not that most biglaw partners are not 100% business-oriented, heartless bastards, but Latham management made it particularly clear what the firm cares about most: making as much money as possible for the partners. Again, this is not a unique attitude among law firms, but Latham seems to be on the far end of heartlessness given who they laid off. At other law firms, it's at least plausible that the partners actually care about the associates, but that's definitely not true at Latham. Bob Dell is the Henry Ford of the legal industry: mass produce average legal work using above-median T10 students and lay them all off when the work goes away.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:07 pm

JusticeJackson wrote:I don't understand why she would hang up once she found out the person was looking to lateral from Latham. Latham works on solid cases, hires top law students, and the people looking to lateral were considered good enough to make the cut.


Maybe she didn't want to work for a bunch of assholes?

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby 09042014 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:11 pm

I'm shocked their vault ranking jumped back up.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby adonai » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:12 pm

JusticeJackson wrote:I don't understand why she would hang up once she found out the person was looking to lateral from Latham. Latham works on solid cases, hires top law students, and the people looking to lateral were considered good enough to make the cut.

I think the headhunter was looking to recruit her to lateral over to Latham, not the other way around.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:13 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I'm shocked their vault ranking jumped back up.


It's a GREAT place to be an equity partner (very high PPP, high leverage, "partners first, women and children second" attitude), so they attract quite a few all-star rainmakers who get staffed on important matters for important clients. It just sucks to be an associate at Latham.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby seriouslyinformative » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:44 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I'm shocked their vault ranking jumped back up.



Why should you be shocked? The Vault rankings are based on lawyers' perceptions of how good a firm is. Only the most self-important associate thinks he props up the prestige of his firm. Prestigious firms comprise prestigious partners, of which Latham has plenty.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby Bronte » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:56 pm

seriouslyinformative wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I'm shocked their vault ranking jumped back up.



Why should you be shocked? The Vault rankings are based on lawyers' perceptions of how good a firm is. Only the most self-important associate thinks he props up the prestige of his firm. Prestigious firms comprise prestigious partners, of which Latham has plenty.


It's just not very prestigious to lay people off.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby seriouslyinformative » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:05 pm

Bronte wrote:
seriouslyinformative wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I'm shocked their vault ranking jumped back up.



Why should you be shocked? The Vault rankings are based on lawyers' perceptions of how good a firm is. Only the most self-important associate thinks he props up the prestige of his firm. Prestigious firms comprise prestigious partners, of which Latham has plenty.


It's just not very prestigious to lay people off.


From whose perspective?

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby seriouslyinformative » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:10 pm

Also, Latham provided MARKET SHATTERING severance.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby RVP11 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:13 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I'm shocked their vault ranking jumped back up.


It's a GREAT place to be an equity partner (very high PPP, high leverage, "partners first, women and children second" attitude), so they attract quite a few all-star rainmakers who get staffed on important matters for important clients. It just sucks to be an associate at Latham.


All the same can be said of places like Dewey and Cahill, too, though.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby seriouslyinformative » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:18 pm

RVP11 wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I'm shocked their vault ranking jumped back up.


It's a GREAT place to be an equity partner (very high PPP, high leverage, "partners first, women and children second" attitude), so they attract quite a few all-star rainmakers who get staffed on important matters for important clients. It just sucks to be an associate at Latham.


All the same can be said of places like Dewey and Cahill, too, though.


So what?

I think Latham is a terrible place to be as an associate, but the notion that they aren't an elite law firm is just silly and overrates the importance of associates in biglaw. If the Latham layoffs and recent Vault rankings proved anything, it's that we're interchangeable cogs as far as big law firms are concerned. We don't matter.

Granted, these things are shortsighted. Presumably, a firm that takes pride in their associates and has a good talent building model will last longer and stay prestigious for a longer period of time. But for the time being? I'd love to be a partner at Latham or Cahill. Cahill especially. Grab me some of that 3mm+ PPP.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby Bronte » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:20 pm

seriouslyinformative wrote:
Bronte wrote:
seriouslyinformative wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I'm shocked their vault ranking jumped back up.



Why should you be shocked? The Vault rankings are based on lawyers' perceptions of how good a firm is. Only the most self-important associate thinks he props up the prestige of his firm. Prestigious firms comprise prestigious partners, of which Latham has plenty.


It's just not very prestigious to lay people off.


From whose perspective?


The reason the firms try their best to hide their layoffs is because of the reputation damage. It's a basic tenant of business. It's a sign of financial instability, which is not prestigious.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby seriouslyinformative » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:33 pm

The reason the firms try their best to hide their layoffs is because of the reputation damage. It's a basic tenant of business


Hate to break it to you, son, but it's still a law firm's market and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Because of that, I strongly doubt law firms like Latham have suffered a decrease in the quality of students they recruit, at least if the last two summer classes were any indication. Moreover, when the law students' market returns, they will all have forgotten. Just like the classes of 2009 and 2010 forgot about Latham's actions in the early 90s.

But again: A reputation damage from WHOSE perspective? Does Chambers and Partners evaluate firms based on how many they laid off? Legal500? No. The layoffs matter only to associates. The "reputation" associated with not having laid off people matters only to future associates. But I guarantee you that Latham is just as good at what they do now as when they laid off those associates.

I hope you're beginning to see the rift here (it's kind of obvious and I'm surprised you haven't gotten it so far): The interests of partners and the interests of associates differ significantly; what's good for the former isn't always what's good for the latter. Latham could have easily survived if they didn't lay off their associates; they'd just have taken a hit to their PPP. Because partners still wanted to take a lot of money home, they fired associates. That's just the way of life. How do other partners view the move? I'm sure they are all fine with it and thank god they weren't put in a similar position, because they'd have done just the same thing. If Wachtell's business dried up overnight like Latham's did, you're fooling yourself if you think the partners would think twice before firing associates left and right.

How do clients view Latham's layoffs? They probably don't care.

So really, to the people who do matter in the legal industry, partners and clients, Latham is A-OK.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby Bronte » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:54 pm

seriouslyinformative wrote:
The reason the firms try their best to hide their layoffs is because of the reputation damage. It's a basic tenant of business


Hate to break it to you, son, but it's still a law firm's market and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Because of that, I strongly doubt law firms like Latham have suffered a decrease in the quality of students they recruit, at least if the last two summer classes were any indication. Moreover, when the law students' market returns, they will all have forgotten. Just like the classes of 2009 and 2010 forgot about Latham's actions in the early 90s.

But again: A reputation damage from WHOSE perspective? Does Chambers and Partners evaluate firms based on how many they laid off? Legal500? No. The layoffs matter only to associates. The "reputation" associated with not having laid off people matters only to future associates. But I guarantee you that Latham is just as good at what they do now as when they laid off those associates.

I hope you're beginning to see the rift here (it's kind of obvious and I'm surprised you haven't gotten it so far): The interests of partners and the interests of associates differ significantly; what's good for the former isn't always what's good for the latter. Latham could have easily survived if they didn't lay off their associates; they'd just have taken a hit to their PPP. Because partners still wanted to take a lot of money home, they fired associates. That's just the way of life. How do other partners view the move? I'm sure they are all fine with it and thank god they weren't put in a similar position, because they'd have done just the same thing. If Wachtell's business dried up overnight like Latham's did, you're fooling yourself if you think the partners would think twice before firing associates left and right.

How do clients view Latham's layoffs? They probably don't care.

So really, to the people who do matter in the legal industry, partners and clients, Latham is A-OK.


You should work on your tone. Son? Are you serious? Latham has suffered reputation damage from their layoffs. They dropped in the Vault rankings and their firm name is now used as a verb to describe layoffs. I don't understand how you can believe that such public sign of financial instability does not have negative consequences. All this talk about from whose perspective is just a red herring. To attempt to assert that layoffs don't result in reputation damage is flatly outrageous. And to do so with your obnoxious attitude is uncalled for.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby seriouslyinformative » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:01 pm

LOL you cite Vault to show that the layoffs have had a reputation effect on Latham, but now throw it under the bus since Latham is 11. Their methodology hasn't changed, SON.

Look kid: even on chambers and legal500, Latham is doing great. They are pretty reputable publications too (at least moreso than Vault).

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby Bronte » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:03 pm

seriouslyinformative wrote:LOL you cite Vault to show that the layoffs have had a reputation effect on Latham, but now throw it under the bus since Latham is 11. Their methodology hasn't changed, SON.

Look kid: even on chambers and legal500, Latham is doing great. They are pretty reputable publications too (at least moreso than Vault).


Latham's a TTT.

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Re: Latham, law firm layoffs, and the recovering economy

Postby seriouslyinformative » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:08 pm

Bronte wrote:
seriouslyinformative wrote:LOL you cite Vault to show that the layoffs have had a reputation effect on Latham, but now throw it under the bus since Latham is 11. Their methodology hasn't changed, SON.

Look kid: even on chambers and legal500, Latham is doing great. They are pretty reputable publications too (at least moreso than Vault).


Latham's a TTT.


From a law students' perspective? Sure. From the perspective of clients and partners at other law firms? No.

I wouldn't work at Latham in a million years. Don't mean it ain't a good firm.




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