I was recently laid off from my position for economic reasons. The partners in my practice area where not generating enough business to keep our hours high enough and there were cuts throughout the firm. I received several months of severance pay and my biography is still on the firm's website, at least for a couple more months. Should I tell prospective employers the truth or try to find a job before my profile is removed?
Your credibility is one of your most valuable assets. I advise you to be honest with potential employers from the outset. There are many attorneys in the market now who have lost their jobs due to economic reductions in force or their firms dissolving. The average job search is taking between four and six months these days and over the past month more attorneys have entered the ranks of the unemployed. We may be about to turn the corner on that, but the duration of searches is likely to increase slightly before it begins to improve.
Do your homework, preferably while you are still on the firm's payroll:
- Ask for copies of any written evaluations that are in your file
- Speak to the people that supervised you and ask them if they will be references for you and what they plan to say. If they are willing to write a letter of recommendation that you can provide to employers who are interested in you, that can give you an added measure of comfort.
- Find out what the human resources department intends to say when called for a reference. Most likely they will only give dates of employment, but you should get as much information as possible so that there are no surprises.
See the Top 32 Reasons Attorneys Lose Their Jobs Inside of Law Firms to learn some of the most common reasons attorneys are fired or let go from law firms.
Learn why attorneys usually fail law firm phone-screening interviews in this article:
See the following articles for more information:
- Top 23 Law Firm Interview Tips: How to Excel in Law Firm Interviews
- 21 Major Interview Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
- The Best Way to Prepare for a Job Search and Interviews
- How to Talk About Other Interviews in Your Interviews
- How to Answer the Tell Me About Yourself Interview Question
- How to Answer the Do You Have Any Questions for Me Interview Question
- Had a Great Interview But Have Got No Response to My Thank-You Emails
- What Does It Mean if I Haven't Heard Anything Back from an Application/Interview in a Couple Weeks?
- What to Wear to a Lunch Interview?
- How to Effectively Interview Lateral Candidates: Pointers for Law Firms
- The Interview Post-Mortem: Don't Forget Your Thank You Notes!
- The Secret to Effectively Sharing Concerns about Your Current Employer without Committing the Most Common Interview Blunder
- How to Conduct Yourself During a Lunch Interview