As the legal sector's revenues are growing slowly and there is expense creep, stress is building. All categories of manpower could face Reductions in Force (RIFs): Staff, associates, plain-vanilla partners, and equity partners. The bottom line on this is this: BigLaw needs a new business model and that isn't in place yet.
On Abovethelaw.com, David Lat reports the return of layoffs among associates. ATL has been informed by sources at Winston & Strawn that about 30 associates there were victims of stealth layoffs last week. In addition, it's possible that less than 70% of summers received offers.
Is the darkness starting to fall again on associates? We all remember after the balloon burst in 2007, layoffs were happening everywhere. In addition, those extended offers faced a delayed hiring date. Some were paid something to do something else for a year and then given a job. Some were paid to go away and stay away. That was Def Land. Those were horrific times. They could return as BigLaw gets it that things haven't improved enough and, well, there is a crisis under way.
In my field of public affairs, things have improved significantly for those who have embraced the new realities. That entailed a paradigm shift to being all-business with prospects in making a pitch and all-business in delivering service. In addition, we smaller players had to adjust our pricing downward. For lawyers who are willing to make a career change, this field is a growing one. They can apply their legal background to working for highly regulated industries, ranging from energy to insurance.