Articles Posted in Law Firm Layoffs

I had the opportunity and the privilege yesterday to make a presentation entitled “Think Small: Learning About and Locating Positions in Small Law Firms” for the New York State Bar Association. About 30 who registered were “live” in the “studio” at the law office of Lauren Wachtler, the chair of the Committee on Lawyers in Transition. An additional 175 registered for the webcast



Many of you are aware of LawShucks which has become well known for keeping track of the number of lawyers and staff laid off from BigLaw. Recently someone began to post his/her thoughts under the title of The Laid Off Diary

As I read the articles, I recognized that the diarist, although likely not having the background and experience of a career planner, had distilled in the various articles the essence and fundamentals of the approach I employ in helping lawyers make a transition from dissatisfaction or unemployment to, hopefully, a satisfying position.

I took excerpts from many of the posts in the diary and, with the approval of Law Shucks and its diarist, present them here. I think you will find what follows worth reading.

Journalists of the legal media could be a force in correcting decades of law school misplacement.

I just read the most recent of the plethora of articles focusing on placement offices and what they are doing for law students during this unique “challenging” “chill” inducing situation where more and more large law firms are withdrawing from on-campus interviewing and not hiring students for summer and permanent positions.

I quickly recognized thirteen issues NOT considered in this article (to a great extent applicable to another such article.)

What has been a consistent ingredient of my 25 years advising lawyers is the continuing and lasting effect of the failure of legal education to prepare law students for the practice of law – a lack of self-confidence and its companion, a lack of self-worth.

That is one of the primary reasons that I have agreed to accept a position as a career resource for the lawyers/students enrolled in the Solo Practice University.  

A distinguished ABA committee composed of judges, lawyers and law professors in 1992 issued a scathing indictment of law school education since referred to as the “MacCrate Report” finding that law schools failed to teach eight of the ten fundamental skills needed to practice law competently and poorly taught the other two.

I recently read an on-line article from a London newspaper that Baker & McKenzie cut six New York associates in an office of 140 lawyers including 60 partners as part of a range of cost-cutting measures introduced in response to market conditions. The article used the English term saying the firm had announced “redundancies”, a definition for which is “having lost your job because the employer no longer needs you.”

Baker & McKenzie, of course, is not alone. Layoffs of associates have been announced at Foley Hoag in Boston, Parker Poe in Charlotte and Blank Rome in Philadelphia and seem likely at Kirkland and Ellis in Chicago.

Somehow being “redundant” seems to say it with more of a kick in the pants than simply being laid off.