Law Firm Layoffs Forum

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.

Has a law firm's history of layoffs influenced your decision to apply/accept a position from a firm?

Poll ended at Sat May 07, 2022 12:48 pm

Yes
67
77%
No
20
23%
 
Total votes: 87

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2022 12:48 pm

Going into OCI, should the history of a law firm's layoff policies be a factor in deciding whether to apply/accept a position?

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2022 1:42 pm

Layoffs = sign of weakness = avoid

Sackboy

Silver
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:14 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Sackboy » Thu May 05, 2022 2:45 pm

Recent layoffs? Sure. A history of layoffs? Sure. Otherwise, I'm not going to be cautious about some firm that laid off 30 attorneys in the the GFC 15 years ago but didn't take a part in rolling back pay or cutting their workforce during COVID or any other time in the past 15 years.

JusticeJackson

Silver
Posts: 605
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:26 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by JusticeJackson » Thu May 05, 2022 5:07 pm

Ive definitely Google searched firm name + layoffs every time I’ve considered a firm.

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3913
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by nealric » Thu May 05, 2022 5:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 1:42 pm
Layoffs = sign of weakness = avoid
I don't know that's necessarily true, but some firms do have a reputation for hiring like crazy when times are good and then purging like crazy when they are bad. Typically, high leverage firms/practices are more likely to operate like that. Those can actually be extremely profitable firms (especially in good times).

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


User avatar
Wild Card

Silver
Posts: 927
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:48 pm

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Wild Card » Thu May 05, 2022 6:06 pm

It's hard, because a lot of formerly mediocre firms that are now powerhouses screwed over a ton of people. I mean, totally fucked up their lives. Latham, Weil, Gibson, &c.

But if you don't get an offer to what's now a peer firm, are you really going to turn down one of the above to go to a lower-ranked firm?

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2022 6:25 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:06 pm
It's hard, because a lot of formerly mediocre firms that are now powerhouses screwed over a ton of people. I mean, totally fucked up their lives. Latham, Weil, Gibson, &c.

But if you don't get an offer to what's now a peer firm, are you really going to turn down one of the above to go to a lower-ranked firm?
So Latham, Weil, Gibson--I know Goodwin has pulled the same move as recently as the start of COVID. Anyone else to watch on this list?

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2022 6:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:25 pm
Wild Card wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:06 pm
It's hard, because a lot of formerly mediocre firms that are now powerhouses screwed over a ton of people. I mean, totally fucked up their lives. Latham, Weil, Gibson, &c.

But if you don't get an offer to what's now a peer firm, are you really going to turn down one of the above to go to a lower-ranked firm?
So Latham, Weil, Gibson--I know Goodwin has pulled the same move as recently as the start of COVID. Anyone else to watch on this list?
Latham lathamed so publicly that I think it's safe to say they probably won't repeat. But I would be a little concerned about Kirkland -- they've been hiring so much, and so many ppl they'd normally never look at, there's gotta be some shedding if/when there's a downturn

Er435

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:16 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Er435 » Thu May 05, 2022 6:50 pm

It might also be worth checking out what firms screwed over summer associates when Covid hit - S&C for example only paid out $20k, even though every firm around their level (and plenty "below" it) paid in full.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2022 8:13 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:06 pm
It's hard, because a lot of formerly mediocre firms that are now powerhouses screwed over a ton of people. I mean, totally fucked up their lives. Latham, Weil, Gibson, &c.

But if you don't get an offer to what's now a peer firm, are you really going to turn down one of the above to go to a lower-ranked firm?
Don’t think Gibson belongs on that list. What are you referring to?

Sackboy

Silver
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:14 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Sackboy » Thu May 05, 2022 8:51 pm

Er435 wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:50 pm
It might also be worth checking out what firms screwed over summer associates when Covid hit - S&C for example only paid out $20k, even though every firm around their level (and plenty "below" it) paid in full.
S&C screwing its summers was some peak capitalist greed.

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2022 8:58 pm

Also consider which firms slashed associate pay at the beginning of Covid. Baker Botts cut associate pay 20%.

Sackboy

Silver
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:14 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Sackboy » Thu May 05, 2022 9:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 8:58 pm
Also consider which firms slashed associate pay at the beginning of Covid. Baker Botts cut associate pay 20%.
Some firms also paid associates the lost amount when it became clear business wasn't going to drop off a cliff, which is also something worth noting. I'm not saying BB did that. I do not know if they did. But, I know some firms did.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


BrowsingTLS

New
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:17 pm

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by BrowsingTLS » Thu May 05, 2022 9:41 pm

JusticeJackson wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 5:07 pm
Ive definitely Google searched firm name + layoffs every time I’ve considered a firm.
This. Anything less is peak brainlet.

Firm name + Abovethelaw is also useful even if you dislike ATL they manage to capture a lot of negatives about firms.

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2022 9:47 pm

It's not just about the firm's history it's about its culture. And culture tends to persist, e.g., "10 years ago" may seem like a long time but as a measure of culture it's not really. Some firms have cultures that have been shown to be more willing to throw associates onto the street vs. others. I tend to think those aspects of culture stick and so if I see a firm did it once, it's more likely it'd be willing to do it again the next time the economy turns. You can think about this the other way too: If a firm has built a reputation for sticking with its associates even through tough times, then it's likely that'll happen again the next economic downturn.

Sackboy

Silver
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:14 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Sackboy » Thu May 05, 2022 9:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 9:47 pm
It's not just about the firm's history it's about its culture. And culture tends to persist, e.g., "10 years ago" may seem like a long time but as a measure of culture it's not really. Some firms have cultures that have been shown to be more willing to throw associates onto the street vs. others. I tend to think those aspects of culture stick and so if I see a firm did it once, it's more likely it'd be willing to do it again the next time the economy turns. You can think about this the other way too: If a firm has built a reputation for sticking with its associates even through tough times, then it's likely that'll happen again the next economic downturn.
I don't like this line of thought at all. In 10 years, the firm has likely changed managing partners and had serious turnover in its leadership, all admin roles, and attorneys. Outside of a select few firms, I don't think law firms have much of a culture at the firm level.

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 05, 2022 10:13 pm

Sackboy wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 9:51 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 9:47 pm
It's not just about the firm's history it's about its culture. And culture tends to persist, e.g., "10 years ago" may seem like a long time but as a measure of culture it's not really. Some firms have cultures that have been shown to be more willing to throw associates onto the street vs. others. I tend to think those aspects of culture stick and so if I see a firm did it once, it's more likely it'd be willing to do it again the next time the economy turns. You can think about this the other way too: If a firm has built a reputation for sticking with its associates even through tough times, then it's likely that'll happen again the next economic downturn.
I don't like this line of thought at all. In 10 years, the firm has likely changed managing partners and had serious turnover in its leadership, all admin roles, and attorneys. Outside of a select few firms, I don't think law firms have much of a culture at the firm level.
Bad take. There is churn at law firms even at the partnership level of course but the key players who affect culture and management tend to be the longest lived which is why culture perpetuates (not to mention it's then taught to the next generation that rises up through the ranks; culture is self-perpetuating). I've personally observed this at two firms, both in the V25, both with reputations from events that took place "a while ago" where the mentality that precipitated the (bad event) was still clearly in operation at the management level of the place and in the leadership culture among the partners.

Get unlimited access to all forums and topics

Register now!

I'm pretty sure I told you it's FREE...


Sackboy

Silver
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:14 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Sackboy » Thu May 05, 2022 10:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 10:13 pm
Sackboy wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 9:51 pm

I don't like this line of thought at all. In 10 years, the firm has likely changed managing partners and had serious turnover in its leadership, all admin roles, and attorneys. Outside of a select few firms, I don't think law firms have much of a culture at the firm level.
Bad take. There is churn at law firms even at the partnership level of course but the key players who affect culture and management tend to be the longest lived which is why culture perpetuates (not to mention it's then taught to the next generation that rises up through the ranks; culture is self-perpetuating). I've personally observed this at two firms, both in the V25, both with reputations from events that took place "a while ago" where the mentality that precipitated the (bad event) was still clearly in operation at the management level of the place and in the leadership culture among the partners.
Thanks for your very anonymous, incredibly vague, and super useful anecdotes. I'm sure nobody here can offer anonymous, incredibly vague, and super useful anecdotes to the contrary. Also good to know you've been at two V25s for a decade+ each and have insightful insider information at each about how, why, and the mentality around when layoffs were conducted. God bless.

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 06, 2022 11:49 am

Sackboy wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 10:44 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 10:13 pm
Sackboy wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 9:51 pm

I don't like this line of thought at all. In 10 years, the firm has likely changed managing partners and had serious turnover in its leadership, all admin roles, and attorneys. Outside of a select few firms, I don't think law firms have much of a culture at the firm level.
Bad take. There is churn at law firms even at the partnership level of course but the key players who affect culture and management tend to be the longest lived which is why culture perpetuates (not to mention it's then taught to the next generation that rises up through the ranks; culture is self-perpetuating). I've personally observed this at two firms, both in the V25, both with reputations from events that took place "a while ago" where the mentality that precipitated the (bad event) was still clearly in operation at the management level of the place and in the leadership culture among the partners.
Thanks for your very anonymous, incredibly vague, and super useful anecdotes. I'm sure nobody here can offer anonymous, incredibly vague, and super useful anecdotes to the contrary. Also good to know you've been at two V25s for a decade+ each and have insightful insider information at each about how, why, and the mentality around when layoffs were conducted. God bless.
Hey SackBoy maybe you’ve never worked in a biglaw firm. But culture is real and your post is pretty funny because it ignores the basic way that law firms function (i.e., partners are static and associates come and go).


Firm leadership selects the next set of firm leaders. Partners select the next set of partners. In all instances they choose people they view as similar and continuing a culture. That’s part of the opaque nature of making partner.

If you want advice on picking a firm that won’t lay people off, maybe you should adjust. You won’t get fired if you are good and work more than others. That’s your decision not a firm decision. Make that decision and where you go won’t matter.

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 06, 2022 12:19 pm

Would watch out for Shearman. Heard they did stealth layoffs during the early part of the pandemic.

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 06, 2022 12:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri May 06, 2022 12:19 pm
Would watch out for Shearman. Heard they did stealth layoffs during the early part of the pandemic.
Meh. Basically every firm does "stealth layoff" = telling underperformers they have no future at the firm and should leave.

Communicate now with those who not only know what a legal education is, but can offer you worthy advice and commentary as you complete the three most educational, yet challenging years of your law related post graduate life.

Register now, it's still FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 06, 2022 1:29 pm

I just had a colleague get stealthed. I feel bad because it just sucks to get canned. But in all honesty, the work product was a problem. I'm not sure what the firm should have done! At least in biglaw you get a soft landing.

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 06, 2022 1:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 8:13 pm
Wild Card wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:06 pm
It's hard, because a lot of formerly mediocre firms that are now powerhouses screwed over a ton of people. I mean, totally fucked up their lives. Latham, Weil, Gibson, &c.

But if you don't get an offer to what's now a peer firm, are you really going to turn down one of the above to go to a lower-ranked firm?
Don’t think Gibson belongs on that list. What are you referring to?
Yeah I'm confused about that one. Not aware of any Gibson shenanigans... anyone care to enlighten us?

Anonymous User
Posts: 400933
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 06, 2022 1:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:25 pm
Wild Card wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:06 pm
It's hard, because a lot of formerly mediocre firms that are now powerhouses screwed over a ton of people. I mean, totally fucked up their lives. Latham, Weil, Gibson, &c.

But if you don't get an offer to what's now a peer firm, are you really going to turn down one of the above to go to a lower-ranked firm?
So Latham, Weil, Gibson--I know Goodwin has pulled the same move as recently as the start of COVID. Anyone else to watch on this list?
Latham lathamed so publicly that I think it's safe to say they probably won't repeat. But I would be a little concerned about Kirkland -- they've been hiring so much, and so many ppl they'd normally never look at, there's gotta be some shedding if/when there's a downturn
Kirkland has also been drowning in work. You'd have to think about a scenario where things don't just slow down, but slow to the point where the current workforce goes from drastically overworked, down to normal levels of busy, then further down to being too slow, and stays that way. Then further that in such a scenario, the partners would be willing to risk Latham-style reputation damage to cut costs in the short term. I just don't see it as very likely, especially since in a broad economic crisis, they can just force everyone to switch over to bankruptcy and restructuring instead of laying them off.

User avatar
glitched

Silver
Posts: 1221
Joined: Wed May 19, 2010 9:50 am

Re: Law Firm Layoffs

Post by glitched » Fri May 06, 2022 1:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri May 06, 2022 1:34 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 8:13 pm
Wild Card wrote:
Thu May 05, 2022 6:06 pm
It's hard, because a lot of formerly mediocre firms that are now powerhouses screwed over a ton of people. I mean, totally fucked up their lives. Latham, Weil, Gibson, &c.

But if you don't get an offer to what's now a peer firm, are you really going to turn down one of the above to go to a lower-ranked firm?
Don’t think Gibson belongs on that list. What are you referring to?
Yeah I'm confused about that one. Not aware of any Gibson shenanigans... anyone care to enlighten us?
Gibson definitely does not belong in that list.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
Just kidding ... it's still FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Legal Employment”