As we all know, this has not been the best week for Big Law and layoffs. It appears that it is “California” week. It started out with Orrick, traveled south to Latham and O’Melveny, and today it moved back north to my former big law experience, Pillsbury.
So what do you do when you read something like this, about your former colleagues:
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman laid off 55 lawyers, 10 legal professionals (i.e. paralegals and docket specialists), and 90 staffers across all of its U.S. offices today, according to a firm spokesperson.
I put in a couple phone calls to my peers, colleagues and friends at the firm. We had spoken the other week when the impending layoffs were leaked by a partner on a train.
I have found that human contact is what many of those caught up in the layoffs need right now … well, that and a job. Times are tough, and I do not envy those who have been caught up in the latest wave of layoffs. I will personally do all I can to help network, reach out, follow up on leads, forward resumes, etc. for anyone, but a lot of the jobs have simply dried up.
While marketers are resourceful and have skills that can quickly adapt to new industries, I really worry about the lawyers. For those of us who work in-house at law firms, we know how difficult it is for attorneys to quickly adapt. I wonder how many of them have any other skills, or job experiences, other than being a lawyer at an AmLaw 100 firm?
And what about the administrative staff? They are least able to afford losing their jobs at this time. From what I have heard out there, temp positions are nil, so what are the administrative staff going to do?
But through it all, my greatest concern is that so many people are still just sitting around, doing their jobs, yet not managing their careers. Today is a great day to market yourself, because no one else will. When the first signs of trouble occur, don’t let your head go in to the sand.
Here are a few signs that it might be time to update your resume:
- if your firm suddenly switches to a single-tier partnership
- if your firm announces “staffing reviews”
- if your managing partner is not on the slate for the executive committee
- if your firm cancels your holiday party
- if your firm delays associate pay raises by three months
- if your firm is no longer paying for your association fees
- if the toilet paper and paper towels are no longer Charmin soft
And, new to the list,
Hey, I could be wrong about all of this, but, then again, I might be right.