How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

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How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:47 pm

I work at a big law firm in a major market doing corporate work (nothing prestigious, but a respected firm). I'm getting to the end of my first year and my hours have not been good - it seems like it is hard for associates in my group to hit their hours target, but I think I am especially slow. I get very positive reviews, but I am not anyone's go-to associate, so it seems like I have to scrape for work more than others do. I billed 180 in September and was feeling good, thinking I was finally going to be consistently busy, but I only hit 145 in October and it will be ~110 for November.

I don't think I am in immediate danger of being fired, since it is just my first year and I have gotten positive reviews and people seem to like me. But I had a child recently, so I have become crazy anxious about what it would mean to lose my job if that happened in the next year or so.

I guess my main question for you all is, is it crazy hard to find a job when you are unemployed after having been fired from biglaw? In other words, should I be on the lookout for exit options while I am employed? I have good school credentials, but obviously not great experience. I do not want to be in biglaw for more than a few years anyway, but I always assumed I would wait until I had more experience before I started looking for the next thing. My low hours and kid at home have me rethinking that strategy and wondering if I should be looking for something more secure now.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby WhiteCollarBlueShirt » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:52 pm

You'll probably get a warning first. Even when axed, you'll probably be given 3-6 months to find a new job. Once you get either talk, then look to lateral ASAP. If you're not getting good experience, then consider lateraling anyways, but it sounds like you're just a nervous first year going through a lull.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby favabeansoup » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:35 pm

Not meeting your hours for the first year is quite, quite common. I would just stop thinking about getting fired or how to deal with unemployment. I knew people who didn't meet their hours for their first 3 years and still work here fine.

You will very likely be told several months in advance if you are in any actual danger of being let go. Law firms don't just fire you out of the blue for not meeting your hours.

Just do not think about this right now, you are only adding to your anxiety.

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elendinel

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby elendinel » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:47 pm

Unless you're billing 60 hours/month and have received numerous warnings that you must get your hours up, you're fine.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:55 pm

Is 110 hours even low for November? I feel like as far as actual paid billable work is concerned, considering the timing of the election, the week of Thanksgiving, and the fact that November is a short month to begin with, 110 hours isn't a distressingly low amount. I wouldn't be surprised if average billables will be 30-50 hours lower than October.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:22 pm

I'm in a very similar situation hours-wise, not baby-wise. I feel like the way you described your situation is the same as me. I am no one's go-to and scraping for hours more than some others. Though I also think there are others in my class year in the same boat.

In response to your question, for the benefit of others, we had a couple junior people let go from my firm recently for performance issues. It was performance related and we don't let people go that often, especially junior people, so that may affect it but they did not land well. I know some fellow juniors were surprised that when they got fired, they didn't just waltz into a known firm.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:26 pm

WhiteCollarBlueShirt wrote:You'll probably get a warning first. Even when axed, you'll probably be given 3-6 months to find a new job. Once you get either talk, then look to lateral ASAP. If you're not getting good experience, then consider lateraling anyways, but it sounds like you're just a nervous first year going through a lull.


3-6 months is total flame. My old v30 firm gave three days notice, one month severance, and one month on the website--though people typically can negociate more with 3 months being the max.

3-6 months is for people who aren't making partner. It's not for people getting shitcanned after several years.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
WhiteCollarBlueShirt wrote:You'll probably get a warning first. Even when axed, you'll probably be given 3-6 months to find a new job. Once you get either talk, then look to lateral ASAP. If you're not getting good experience, then consider lateraling anyways, but it sounds like you're just a nervous first year going through a lull.


3-6 months is total flame. My old v30 firm gave three days notice, one month severance, and one month on the website--though people typically can negociate more with 3 months being the max.

3-6 months is for people who aren't making partner. It's not for people getting shitcanned after several years.


The biggest flame of this board is treating biglaw like some nebulous, consistent thing. It's not, and I have to wonder whether people have any friends at different firms. There are loads of differences, from stub year bonuses to how much notice you get before getting shitcanned.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:19 am

Also a 1st year in a biglaw, was let go during my performance review for lack of hours (basically a slow year and the deals I got simply didn't move forward) combined with an abnormally large incoming class. I was the only 1st year and received no warnings at all, unless no work is actually freezing out. Was given 3 months to find a new job.

OP your hours are much better than mine and you got positive reviews so I don't think you are in any immediate danger, but it's in your best interest to keep your eyes open and stay in touch with you law school friends.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:43 am

It definitely varies. The only person I know who has been let go at my v10 managed to spend over 18 months at the firm before lateraling. I've heard from mid levels and seniors that he was truly awful - not competent enough to do even basic corporate work, combative, not open to criticism, etc. After the first month or so he got almost no work - the more senior associates just wouldn't give any. The end of his first full year, he had almost no hours and his class mates were all over 2000. He was held back a class year and obviously didn't get a bonus, but he still held out until late March before lateraling. Landed at a v50 and is still there almost 9 months later.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:43 am

I know two people who were let go as junior associates. One from big law one from a market paying boutique. One got an auto three months severance. The other got one month and had to prove diligent job searching to get more. Both landed at comparable (if not better) firms. But they both hit the ground running the SECOND they got the news and didn't stop.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby 1styearlateral » Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:55 am

jbagelboy wrote:Is 110 hours even low for November? I feel like as far as actual paid billable work is concerned, considering the timing of the election, the week of Thanksgiving, and the fact that November is a short month to begin with, 110 hours isn't a distressingly low amount. I wouldn't be surprised if average billables will be 30-50 hours lower than October.

This is pretty spot-on for me at least. On track to bill 135 hours this month.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:52 pm

1styearlateral wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Is 110 hours even low for November? I feel like as far as actual paid billable work is concerned, considering the timing of the election, the week of Thanksgiving, and the fact that November is a short month to begin with, 110 hours isn't a distressingly low amount. I wouldn't be surprised if average billables will be 30-50 hours lower than October.

This is pretty spot-on for me at least. On track to bill 135 hours this month.


I think it depends on practice group. In corporate, 110 hours for November would be pretty slow.

edit: accidental anon

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby WhiteCollarBlueShirt » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:13 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
WhiteCollarBlueShirt wrote:You'll probably get a warning first. Even when axed, you'll probably be given 3-6 months to find a new job. Once you get either talk, then look to lateral ASAP. If you're not getting good experience, then consider lateraling anyways, but it sounds like you're just a nervous first year going through a lull.


3-6 months is total flame. My old v30 firm gave three days notice, one month severance, and one month on the website--though people typically can negociate more with 3 months being the max.

3-6 months is for people who aren't making partner. It's not for people getting shitcanned after several years.


The biggest flame of this board is treating biglaw like some nebulous, consistent thing. It's not, and I have to wonder whether people have any friends at different firms. There are loads of differences, from stub year bonuses to how much notice you get before getting shitcanned.


Fair enough. Disclaimer, because "probably" was not clear enough: I am speaking from my own experience with a handful of v100 firms in NYC. Outside of NYC, all bets off, we fire people at anytime and without warning.

In either case (i) guy is being way overly paranoid as a first year & (ii) he's for sure much better off lateraling than looking for a job out of unemployment.

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Re: How hard is it to find a job after getting let go from big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Is 110 hours even low for November? I feel like as far as actual paid billable work is concerned, considering the timing of the election, the week of Thanksgiving, and the fact that November is a short month to begin with, 110 hours isn't a distressingly low amount. I wouldn't be surprised if average billables will be 30-50 hours lower than October.

This is pretty spot-on for me at least. On track to bill 135 hours this month.


I think it depends on practice group. In corporate, 110 hours for November would be pretty slow.

edit: accidental anon


I'm going to be ~150 November, with 180-190 Sep. and Oct. 110 is a little slow but its nothing remarkable, esp if your average is more like 150 than 200 to begin with.



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