Let go as a 1st year

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Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:09 pm

1st year corporate associate, v30 satellite office in a major market, was recently told during my annual review that they wanted me to leave and that I have 3 months to find a new job while getting paid.

The reasons they cited were (i) they received consistent feedback from mid-levels I work with, these mid-levels are no longer willing to work with me due to my work product, and (ii) a "big" incoming class ("big" compared to the office size) starts soon, this office can not support so many people. I told them I appreciate that they are letting me go quietly while still paying me and keeping my firm profile for 3 months. I also asked for more information on my performance review so I can avoid making the same mistakes. They agreed to set up another talk soon.

At this point, I am the only 1st year associate in my group until the next class joins in 2 months. Interestingly enough, when I joined the office, it was full of recent junior to mid-level laterals. All then 1st years were gone, they either moved away or lateralled.

General background:
I billed 600-700 hours in my stub year, the office was fairly busy. Starting this year, work slowed down and everyone took vacation. When I asked for assignment, everyone was like "enjoy the slow time now." Around March, some mid-levels got busier. Even about 1 month ago, my mentor (who still takes me out to coffee from time to time) is behind the 2000-hour target. I tried to let everyone know that I was available without being annoying, got staffed on several deals through the summer but unfortunately none are moving forward (I still closed a few deals this year, but my hours are nowhere near my stub year's). I talked to another mid-level, he was like "you are never taken off a deal, the deals you got staffed on are always yours, they may not start now but if they do, they are yours, and all of a sudden you might find yourself having 4 deals running."

About me:
T-14, no debt, have enough savings to take a few months off.
Not angry or losing sleep over this. Just disappointed and thought I could do better and last longer. Not going to out the firm or burn bridges.

I am thinking I can possibly:
(i) ask for a probation period and try to extend the 3-month to 6-month, so I can potentially win the confidence back or at least I’ll be a 2nd year in 5 months, better lateral opportunities then;
(ii) talk to headhunters and discuss lateral market for 1st years, either to another firm or in-house, I’m scheduled to meet two this week; and
(iii) switch career, try consulting, McKinsey and BCG come to my school’s OCI and I have a business/finance background.

Any advice and suggestions are much appreciated.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 320792
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:16 pm

Which market are you in and where are you able to work/have ties to? That would be a little helpful in evaluating options and what to do. Really sticky situation and it sucks you got put in it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 320792
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:43 pm

Your first priority should be to get another 3 months on the website. 6 months is a realistic timeline to get another position, you may be able to do it in 3 or less, but your odds go down drastically once you're off the website. Do whatever you can to get the extra time on the website, offer to sign a release, etc etc just get that extra time, and then work on your options. I can't stress enough how important this is, being on the website and taking a leave of absence is far more important than any amount of severance or anything. Once you get that sorted out hit the pavement and work all those avenues to find a new job.

Anonymous User
Posts: 320792
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1st year corporate associate, v30 satellite office in a major market, was recently told during my annual review that they wanted me to leave and that I have 3 months to find a new job while getting paid.

The reasons they cited were (i) they received consistent feedback from mid-levels I work with, these mid-levels are no longer willing to work with me due to my work product, and (ii) a "big" incoming class ("big" compared to the office size) starts soon, this office can not support so many people. I told them I appreciate that they are letting me go quietly while still paying me and keeping my firm profile for 3 months. I also asked for more information on my performance review so I can avoid making the same mistakes. They agreed to set up another talk soon.

At this point, I am the only 1st year associate in my group until the next class joins in 2 months. Interestingly enough, when I joined the office, it was full of recent junior to mid-level laterals. All then 1st years were gone, they either moved away or lateralled.

General background:
I billed 600-700 hours in my stub year, the office was fairly busy. Starting this year, work slowed down and everyone took vacation. When I asked for assignment, everyone was like "enjoy the slow time now." Around March, some mid-levels got busier. Even about 1 month ago, my mentor (who still takes me out to coffee from time to time) is behind the 2000-hour target. I tried to let everyone know that I was available without being annoying, got staffed on several deals through the summer but unfortunately none are moving forward (I still closed a few deals this year, but my hours are nowhere near my stub year's). I talked to another mid-level, he was like "you are never taken off a deal, the deals you got staffed on are always yours, they may not start now but if they do, they are yours, and all of a sudden you might find yourself having 4 deals running."

About me:
T-14, no debt, have enough savings to take a few months off.
Not angry or losing sleep over this. Just disappointed and thought I could do better and last longer. Not going to out the firm or burn bridges.

I am thinking I can possibly:
(i) ask for a probation period and try to extend the 3-month to 6-month, so I can potentially win the confidence back or at least I’ll be a 2nd year in 5 months, better lateral opportunities then;
(ii) talk to headhunters and discuss lateral market for 1st years, either to another firm or in-house, I’m scheduled to meet two this week; and
(iii) switch career, try consulting, McKinsey and BCG come to my school’s OCI and I have a business/finance background.

Any advice and suggestions are much appreciated.


I know someone this happened to. This person ended up with 2 offers from peer firms before the 3-month period was up. How that happened:

1) Make a list of every firm in town that does what you do.
2) Schedule lunch with every friend in the legal industry. Tell them you are looking to make a move. Ask what they know.
3) Contact everyone who is an acquaintance and let them know you are looking and want to talk about the market. Include same class year alumni, and people you may have worked with across the table. Set it up as an informational interview- do not directly ask for a job.
4) Contact headhunters ONLY after you are 100% sure you have no contacts in a given firm. They aren't as effective as a friendly word except in the rare circumstance that a firm has hired them as an exclusive recruiting contact- rare for a junior associate opening.

Do not say you have been let go. Just let them know you are interested in making a move.

Anonymous User
Posts: 320792
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Your first priority should be to get another 3 months on the website. 6 months is a realistic timeline to get another position, you may be able to do it in 3 or less, but your odds go down drastically once you're off the website. Do whatever you can to get the extra time on the website, offer to sign a release, etc etc just get that extra time, and then work on your options. I can't stress enough how important this is, being on the website and taking a leave of absence is far more important than any amount of severance or anything. Once you get that sorted out hit the pavement and work all those avenues to find a new job.


OP here. Thank you very much for the advice, I'll ask for the 6 month on website and in exchange I'll take half pay.

Anonymous User
Posts: 320792
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1st year corporate associate, v30 satellite office in a major market, was recently told during my annual review that they wanted me to leave and that I have 3 months to find a new job while getting paid.

Any advice and suggestions are much appreciated.


I know someone this happened to. This person ended up with 2 offers from peer firms before the 3-month period was up. How that happened:

1) Make a list of every firm in town that does what you do.
2) Schedule lunch with every friend in the legal industry. Tell them you are looking to make a move. Ask what they know.
3) Contact everyone who is an acquaintance and let them know you are looking and want to talk about the market. Include same class year alumni, and people you may have worked with across the table. Set it up as an informational interview- do not directly ask for a job.
4) Contact headhunters ONLY after you are 100% sure you have no contacts in a given firm. They aren't as effective as a friendly word except in the rare circumstance that a firm has hired them as an exclusive recruiting contact- rare for a junior associate opening.

Do not say you have been let go. Just let them know you are interested in making a move.



OP here. Thanks very much! I'll make a list and start setting coffee talks.

Startled Rabbit

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Posts: 44
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Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Startled Rabbit » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:00 pm

Seems unfair. Is it not correct that mistakes are to be expected in the first year?

thegrayman

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Posts: 528
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Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby thegrayman » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:07 pm

Ask for as long on the website as you need to find new employment, most firms will let you stay on there for a long time (even longer than they say initially). We had an associate in a similar position and he was allowed to remain on the website for well over 6 months while searching for a new job.

Anonymous User
Posts: 320792
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:29 pm

Startled Rabbit wrote:Seems unfair. Is it not correct that mistakes are to be expected in the first year?


OP here. I don't have any major screw-ups, I was not as efficient on one big deal last year but that was in my stub year. When they said mid-levels are not willing to work with me I was surprised, as my mentor got me several deals throughout the summer, I helped on several other mid-levels' deals and just got staffed on an active deal. I guess it might take one particular associate to bar mouth and destroy your biglaw career then.

Anonymous User
Posts: 320792
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:31 pm

thegrayman wrote:Ask for as long on the website as you need to find new employment, most firms will let you stay on there for a long time (even longer than they say initially). We had an associate in a similar position and he was allowed to remain on the website for well over 6 months while searching for a new job.


OP here. Thank you, partners suggested me contact a HR person regarding this transition, I'll bring this up when I speak with him.

dixiecupdrinking

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Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:42 pm

Startled Rabbit wrote:Seems unfair. Is it not correct that mistakes are to be expected in the first year?

It sounds to me like a classic economic layoff.

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smokeylarue

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Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby smokeylarue » Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:32 pm

Unless you were straight up incompetent (which it doesn't sound like at least from what you've stated), there is something wrong with your office. 1st years being let go is ridiculous.

Keep your head up OP, sounds like you are doing what you need to do.

Anonymous User
Posts: 320792
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Startled Rabbit wrote:Seems unfair. Is it not correct that mistakes are to be expected in the first year?


OP here. I don't have any major screw-ups, I was not as efficient on one big deal last year but that was in my stub year. When they said mid-levels are not willing to work with me I was surprised, as my mentor got me several deals throughout the summer, I helped on several other mid-levels' deals and just got staffed on an active deal. I guess it might take one particular associate to bar mouth and destroy your biglaw career then.


Definitely true that it only takes one a.h. person.

I'm sorry that happened to you.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:04 pm

Sorry that this happened to you... Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and will be just fine. Good luck!

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:10 pm

smokeylarue wrote:Unless you were straight up incompetent (which it doesn't sound like at least from what you've stated), there is something wrong with your office. 1st years being let go is ridiculous.

Keep your head up OP, sounds like you are doing what you need to do.


OP here. It was a little strange that all mid-levels are more or less on deals from other offices, including the most recently one I got staffed on. Maybe our office lost a big client or two. But still, they just opened up a position for a mid-level to join.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jarofsoup

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Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby jarofsoup » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:19 pm

Sounds like a stealth layoff. There are a lot now. Basically stay in the office 9 to 5 and look for a job full time.

Anonymous User
Posts: 320792
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let go as a 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 02, 2018 6:12 pm

OP -- would love to know what happened here, if possible.



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