Friday, March 13, 2009

Layoffs and deferments and rescindments..oh my?

Big law firms have been hit really hard with layoffs over the last two weeks...some 2,800 people in less than 14 days have been laid off. The folks over at Above the Law have been doing Yeoman's work keeping track of them. The question I and everybody else who has a stake in this are asking is "what does this mean for us?"

The good news is that there is still a lot of hiring going on, particularly outside of transactional work. A lot of this hiring is being done by small and mid-sized firms that are capitalizing on their lower overhead (and lower rates, probably). These firms have the opportunity to grab some really great legal talent, frequently at a discount, if they have the billable work to support it.

I have to think that generally, firms are being as selective and smart about their layoffs as they can. I think that the way mid-sized firms should really be able to capitalize is by recruiting the very best attorneys who haven't been laid off while there is some uncertainty and instability in the air. The best way to get those people is with a headhunter, which is why we are still busy despite all of the bad news.

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