I don’t know about you folks, but back in the day, when the dance was over, rather than call it a night and go home, we headed over to Cantor’s for some late night snacks and coffee.

Huh? Not making the connection?? The dance might be over for mortgage-backed securities, but I don’t see anyone ready to call it a day on the financial services market, the lawyers who represent them, or the staffs whose livelihoods are dependent upon them.

Right now we’re all focused on the screaming headlines and gossipy articles.

No one wants to go to work on a Thursday morning to find their firm’s biggest client listed in this hit piece? And with an article titled “Sidley essentially told their people: ‘DON’T PANIC!!!!!!!!!’”, can they do anything else but?

But, come on, people, flip the page and read past the negative headlines and start looking for the opportunities:

I might be pulling a Pollyana here, but I just left a lunch where we talked about how we can look to the current landscape and find the positive opportunities. Since I don’t believe there is a firm out there whose clients are not susceptible to the crunch, I will add to my suggestions from the other day:

  • While the big cases will go to “CYA” firms, what specializations do you have that will benefit your clients as part of an overall team approach?
  • When one practice slows down, others speed up. Time to start dusting off those bankruptcy attorneys.
  • Become the expert now. What is the landscape going to look like in 6 months for your practice/clients?? Time to update your website and bio to reflect future needs.
  • Get top of mind: Client alerts, speaking opportunities at trade conferences, timely articles, etc.
  • Invest internally. Linklaters unveils in-house business school. The Linklaters Law & Business School was launched on Monday (15 September) and includes practice diplomas, training for partners and managing associates and an orientation programme for new trainees.
  • It’s time tear down the barriers and cross-sell your current clients within the firm. Make a list of any client that might be susceptible to the markets downturns, or who might benefit. What services can your firm bring to the mix?

And I’ll repeat this from Tuesday’s post – it’s time to pick up the phone and call your contacts. If they are personally at risk of losing their jobs, how can you be of assistance? Can you be a friend that they can call? Can you make an introduction or two? Can you serve as a reference?

We can all get caught up in the gossip, but these layoffs and company failings are affecting real people both inside the legal industry and with our clients. Heller won’t be the first law firm to go under and Lehman won’t be the last financial institute to fail. My question is: how are you going to approach the news?