SA Firm Firings

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SA Firm Firings

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:28 pm

And I thought I was having a bad day. A 2L friend just texted me to say that her mid-sized SA firm just fired 17 attorneys!! She is freakin’ out thinking that they will withdraw her SA. I was starting to write that they will not pull her SA when it occurred to me, what if they are out of money? I think they had less than 60 attorneys, so firing 17 is drastic.

Then another unpleasant thought followed, if she still gets her SA, what are her chances of being “offered.” Who (as in nobody) wants to be an SA at a firm knowing that you are not likely to be offered? I suppose she could try and lateral out during OCI (how tricky is that to accomplish as a 2L).

How would you react if this was happening at your SA firm?? Anyone ever heard about a firm pulling SA? I am still searching for something encouraging to text her.

(not sure what forum to put this in, here or lounge or stress prevention).

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Re: SA Firm Firings

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:And I thought I was having a bad day. A 2L friend just texted me to say that her mid-sized SA firm just fired 17 attorneys!! She is freakin’ out thinking that they will withdraw her SA. I was starting to write that they will not pull her SA when it occurred to me, what if they are out of money? I think they had less than 60 attorneys, so firing 17 is drastic.

Then another unpleasant thought followed, if she still gets her SA, what are her chances of being “offered.” Who (as in nobody) wants to be an SA at a firm knowing that you are not likely to be offered? I suppose she could try and lateral out during OCI (how tricky is that to accomplish as a 2L).

How would you react if this was happening at your SA firm?? Anyone ever heard about a firm pulling SA? I am still searching for something encouraging to text her.

(not sure what forum to put this in, here or lounge or stress prevention).


She should try pounding the pavement and mass mailing firms for an SA position. I don't know how to frame the letter but I'd feel incredibly uneasy even though letting go a bunch of SAs before they even started should ease up some bleeding.

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Re: SA Firm Firings

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:52 pm

OP

I should have mentioned that she is only one of three SAs the firm slated to bring on in May (and the only SA from her LS). Not sure of the size designation for a firm with 60 or fewer attorneys (mid-law maybe). I do not believe they use the same set of guidelines as BL firms since she only had ten days to make her decision (whereas my firm offered the mandatory 30 days).

Her firm is located in a very large secondary market so the SA compensation was fairly market competitive (around $2K a week). I know she passed up a couple of other mid-sized firms — I was going to suggest that she circle back to one of those firms, if the protocol for such a possibility exists. I will see her in class tomorrow, not sure what to say.

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Re: SA Firm Firings

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:23 pm

I would absolutely have her circle back to some of the firms she rejected, and keep looking well beyond that as well. I just got an SA gig at a small/midsize boutique with a competitive salary so these things are still happening.

As for what might happen to the SA program at your friend's firm, at the height of the recession, I recall a good friend and associate at a single location major firm who felt deeply betrayed when the firm brought in a large new class of SA even as they were stealth-laying off his colleagues and friends - and his own survival was in question. Needless to say, he didn't take kindly to dealing with summers after that. So summer associate resentment from the survivors of the purge may also be something to think about.

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Re: SA Firm Firings

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:19 pm

OP

I spoke with my friend today and is contemplating circling back to firms that made her (earlier) offers. She is under the perception (as am I) that contacting competing firms while working as an SA could have consequences. If your SA firm discovers that you are looking elsewhere, how does one talk their way out of that?

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TTRansfer
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Re: SA Firm Firings

Postby TTRansfer » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:25 pm

I would first ask the firm WTF is going on. If they are not honest and open with her, try and get out. If they are, hear them out and see what they have to say.

Maybe it was a 17 person orgy-and-coke party group. Maybe they are broke. Possibly a combination of the two (being broke from all the orgies and coke).

NYstate
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Re: SA Firm Firings

Postby NYstate » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:39 pm

She should see if she can find something else. Read the Dewey thread from last year about how do go about finding another SA.

Were there partner defections? What level of associates were fired ?
Losing close to a third of the firm is a problem- no matter why it happened.

Note Dewey kept telling the SAs things were fine right up until close to the end. Do not believe the firm's story.

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Sheffield
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Re: SA Firm Firings

Postby Sheffield » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:20 pm

I know of only one person who was not offered last year, he was caught contacting other firms during his SA. Caught is defined as someone casually mentioning to him that they heard he was exploring other options. Whether “looking” was the reason behind his no-offer, hard to know.

I would think that if you are paying someone three-grand a week to train for the future and they are spotted looking at the exit door…. well, you can fill in the rest. Maybe someone here knows of a case where “exploring other options” during an SA paid off.

Curious. What would motivate YOU to look? How much ($$) a year more, firm with multiple locations, or….?

iconoclasttt
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Re: SA Firm Firings

Postby iconoclasttt » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:03 pm

Sheffield wrote:Curious. What would motivate YOU to look? How much ($$) a year more, firm with multiple locations, or….?


To be fair, "looking" because you want to see if you can upgrade is a far cry from "looking" because your firm-to-be just canned 1/3 of their timekeepers. Were I in the position reported in the OP, I'd at least try to get an explanation from the firm, but . . .

NYstate wrote:Note Dewey kept telling the SAs things were fine right up until close to the end. Do not believe the firm's story.


This. I guarantee that worrying about what future SAs think is the last thing on anyone's mind at a troubled firm. Unless there's a credible explanation for the reorg--e.g., that a conflict caused a large practice group to decamp en masse--I would assume that such a dramatic reduction in headcount signals trouble, and would be discreetly exercising all options.




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