kykiske wrote:What has been going on lately? I'm seeing more and more posts about layoffs and/or terminations. Is there something going on in the legal market?
I've discussed with a lot of midlevels anecdotally scattered across the V100 but haven't studied the latest amlaw financials yet.
It's a combination of the following:
A) firms really ramped up hiring from 2011-2015 because they had work to be done sitting on the table that wasn't being done. In a billable hour format, you only make as much as you bill. If you've got the work but don't have the associates to bill the work, you're leaving untapped billables on the table. So you ramp up fast without too much foresight into the future in order to make money. When that work finally slows down, you've got idle hands.
B) Idle hands were exacerbated by the salary increases (increasing fixed costs) as well as less firms laying off from 2011-2015 because midlevel and senior associates were a hot commodity since many were fired as juniors in the Great Recession and never started a biglaw career. Now, the equilibrium has returned without forcing people out or a relaxed up and out and there are too many senior associates and midlevels for the amount of work that has tapered off.
C) oil is still imploding; political uncertainty and economic uncertainty in world markets right now make some companies reluctant to do big reorgs (plenty of work is still there, but some work is drying up or plateuing compared to gangbusters)
D) generally, this is what happens in a partnership model where partners suck out all the profits (which they should). There is nothing left for bad times or even leveled off times. If your business isn't growing at 7%+ every year, it will be problematic/hard to retain top level partners and keep them from leaving to the top NYC growing firms.