Firms doing stealth layoffs after aggressively over hiring all of last year is *chef’s kiss*

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I’m in lit and slammed. No sign of slow down either

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Can confirm White & Case. Multiple offices and poor performing groups. Sinking ship.

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It’s not a sinking ship. I suspect they expanded rapidly, which made all sense in the world to do in light of the wave they were riding. Almost all firms are going to be down in transactional hours this year, but will still have very good years. It’s just down vs an unsustainable record. Thing is, based on what I know about the legal market and firms, I suspect W&C was more aggressive in hiring / expanding last year in order to get as much out of the wave as they could. That doesn’t just mean revenue. It also means talent acquisition and building depth and breadth. This is good, sound stuff to do. But, 2022 trended down in unforeseen ways (i.e., 2021 did not continue like some thought it would). It’s still going to be a great year, but almost all firm’s transactional hours are going to be down. I suspect, however, that W&C got clipped a little harder because they were so aggressively recruiting last few years to build capacity and also suspect they have probably suffered a disproportionate drop in demand - just based on their practice group mix / drivers.

This isn’t end of the world / sinking ship stuff. W&C will be fine. But, I do understand why an associate might think that these blips in time - with revenue drops and excess capacity - represent the end of the world and not just a point in time where a business has to pivot & reposition (often through fine tuning rather than dramatic action).

W&C wasn’t flying as high as they probably thought last few years and they also probably aren’t sinking as hard and fast as an associate or other outside observer may think.

Never say never, but firm disintegrations are rare and…Man. They are recognizable. A firm like Boies Schiller…that looks and feels much more like a sinking ship / firm in free-fall. But, they may be able to stabilize things there too. It’s far from game over for them and they have lost a TON of talent that took a long time to assemble.

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I hope anyone getting stealth layoff can find a great in-house position and never feed work to the firm(s) doing this.

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Here’s an unpopular opinion- what exactly is it about the legal industry that makes it “shameful” to do something that most other industries do? I.e., fire people when they are not needed anymore? At least biglaw gives you the courtesy of a stealth layoff where you get plenty of time (3-6 months!) to cruise and find a new job. How is that not better than most other gigs? A colleague of mine under billed for over a year (like 800 hrs a year) before she was asked to leave, and even after that she took another 6 months to actually leave. Look at the tech companies firing people in droves. We should just be happy that biglaw is actually pretty decent as far as job security goes.

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My guess is cap markets, maybe spac focused.

Not large scale i dont think but on here theres been a sudden spike in bad review posts...

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Not all firings are stealth layoffs. Yes, firms are showing associates to the door who have been billing way under target throughout the pandemic. That’s what happens when the market slows down. Remember all of those posts by juniors boasting about how they just “cruise” at 1500/yr or less? They had it coming.

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Right so from a short term perspective- i don’t care to make partner- that is why I used the language “job.” And MOST people choosing their jobs are fools. Like wth did you chose a job that makes $20 an hour for office work (absent ability)? I’d rather make $100 an hour for that office work. And the plus is if I want it to be a big law CAREER I’ll ramp up, but “coasting” at $200k is pretty sweet. And those who don’t want to “coast” will start at $200k and will earn a well deserved more than $200k.

The worst part is that this is such a mind fuck! As lawyers, we define so much of our self worth by our skills and the associates this happen to blame themselves. I wish law firms would signal that it’s a lay off rather than a firing.

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For real. It’s fucked up and can mess someone up mentally. And they literally don’t care about that at all and expect the associate to deal with it/figure it out.

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I’ve heard of four firms: Lewis Brisbois, Cooley, white and case, and Allen Overy

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If associates are overpaid, then they’ve always been. We don’t even keep up with inflation compared to the 150 starting 7 or so years ago.

Name and shame

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Goodwin?

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AA2 what office are they hiring?

They are doing it. It’s being couched as poor performance but it’s complete BS. Watch out

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It’s psychologically inhumane — gaslighting people into thinking they suck at their job cause partners want to save $$$

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It is 100% happening at my firm but hasn’t been directed at me…yet

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You suck

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Have firms started doing this? I hadn’t heard of anything yet

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Are all layoffs now called stealth layoffs? My group is going to fire an associate soon for legit performance issues but I guess that will be called fake news.

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P2 this sounds like Goodwin

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I’m in litigation and we still have a ton of work coming in and are hiring, is this a corporate thing?

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Yes but it’s industry-based. At my firm we mostly do healthcare M&A and everyone is slammed and has been all year.

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If you’re gonna post something like this, substantiate it.

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Name the firm or you're full of it

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This entire thread is purely speculative

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All firms are doing this. Partners are not working as much and have the time to stew and fire…

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Yeah, Partner 1, all the partners I work with are completely jammed, so I guess that's a good sign for me.

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Any indication of the group/sector?

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Which came after they cut too far at the beginning of the pandemic.

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