sundance95 wrote:In the modern biglaw firm where partners don't all know each other, its better to think of the partnership as a whole as shareholders. The fact that partner X cares about her associates might matter in a firm where all the other partners know partner X, and thus might be swayed by her--but when a firm has hundreds of partners sprinkled through dozens of offices, the partnership will makes decisions like a corporation would, i.e., based on $$$ and $$$ only.
Yes, I agree that it is a bottom line mentality. My point was in response to the idea that big law is a completely heartless place. I haven't found that to be true.
Even the laid off folks mentioned in the OP are getting 6 months to find another job. That seems fairly generous.
To me the most important point is that everyone remembers that big law isn't a stable career by any means. Even many partners have no permanent security. The question is how best to protect yourself in this environment. I think part of it is keeping as many contacts as you can and developing specific skills in different areas. Working long hours alone won't protect you.
I also think that minimizing debt is crucial for protecting yourself for the future. But there is often a trade off with school prestige. Ive found that prestige might get you the job; but it isn't going to keep you the job. No firm looks at the list of associates and decides who to keep based on school. People from Harvard get fired just the same as anyone else.