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When Do Law Firm Mergers Mean Layoffs?

While it's hard to predict the weather, it's a good bet the sun will come up tomorrow for most people.

If you are in the middle of a storm, however, it can be hard to see a way out. From the outside looking in, it becomes clearer.

Likewise, if your law firm is going through a merger, you should probably take a look around outside. No one can predict precisely when a layoff will occur, but you may want to consider your options while the cloudy future passes over.

Merger, Layoff?

Dentons, a multinational firm, is set to close its acquisition of Maclay Murry & Spens. The law firm will span more than 60 countries with more than 8,000 lawyers.

According to Legal Week, the law firms said that "all individuals who are potentially affected by the proposed redundancies have now been informed," and the firms "will be providing support to impacted individuals throughout."

The good news, for some people, is the "redundancies" apparently do not include lawyers at the mega firm. If a smaller firm were struggling and merging just to survive, however, it might have been a different story.

Then it becomes a question of what next? Do you get out or hold out?

Reasons to Stay

Despite an uncertain future, there are good reasons to stay through a merger. LawCareers.Net says there are clear benefits, even for new associates:

  • More opportunities with a bigger firm
  • Different types of work with new clients
  • Enhanced learning and career development

Even new hires and contract attorneys can expect fair weather because most firms honor pre-existing obligations. Merging firms will naturally change, but they want the transition to be smooth.

"[R]oll with the new set of circumstances and focus on the potential benefits, and you are likely to feel better about the new proposition," the company says.

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