You're Fired. Oh, and You're Welcome.
Dan Slater, the former writer of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, has an interesting piece in today's New York Times called "In Praise of Law Firm Layoffs
". In the article, Slater makes the argument that the current wave of layoffs that is currently sucking thousands of attorneys down in the undertow is actually the best thing to happen to the legal profession in a long time.
Slater first lists the benefits to corporate counsel who have long suffered through law firm compensation models that emphasize the quantity of billable hours over the quality of the work product.
Then Slater throws out the theory that the law firm layoffs really
benefit the laid off attorneys themselves. It's an opportunity, Slater
writes, to leave the hellish world of BigLaw behind and pursue those
dreams that all young children had before they grew up, grew cynical
and went to law school.
And what about all those 20- and 30-something associates who can no longer formulate excuses -- But I'm paying off my law school debt while I figure out what I want to do!
-- to remain in the kinds of jobs that so many of my law firm friends
describe as "soul-crushing"? For many lawyers at law firms,
particularly those who spent the early part of their careers toiling in
structured finance departments and contributing, in the end, nothing to
nothing, this recession may be the thing that delivers them from more
3,000-hour years of such drudgery as changing the dates on
securitization documents and shuffling them from one side of the desk
to the other.
Plus, if those attorneys decide to remain in the law (after all, some people actually like
and aren't able to make a lateral move between BigLaw firms, then
smaller firms have a great opportunity to pick up some top talent for
bargain basement prices.