The Silver Lining Shines Through for a Laid-Off Junior Litigator Returning to His Home Market |

The Silver Lining Shines Through for a Laid-Off Junior Litigator Returning to His Home Market

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As a legal placement professional, I interface with attorneys across the country who are facing all sort of ups and downs in their careers. No surprise, a fair share of my candidates come to me looking for new legal jobs because they have been let go from their current firms. This has been especially true in the era of the coronavirus, as many firms across the country, large and small, instituted furloughs and lay-offs of attorneys as a result of covid-19.

But here is what all candidates need to remember: many lay-off stories end well for the candidates involved - especially if those candidates choose to look at the situation in a "glass half full" manner. That is what this excellent candidate did. He was laid off from his AmLaw firm in New York as a result of his firm's financial instability resulting from covid and other factors, and instead of wallowing in self-pity, he did some soul searching about what he really wanted from his practice and his life and turned the entire situation into a positive experience that had a very happy ending.

This candidate had very good educational credentials, as he went to a top college and law school. He also had won various academic prizes and done interesting study and work abroad and volunteer activities. He was very intellectual and enjoyed the scholarly aspects of litigation, like research and writing. He also loved oral advocacy and in fact had received prizes for his debate and moot court performances. Moreover, he was also a very nice and down-to-earth person, who realized that he thrived best in collegial environments that rewarded team work and intellectual curiosity.

Like many law students who graduate from top law schools, this candidate had gone to a large AmLaw firm in New York, where he was able to work for a year as a litigation associate before being laid off in connection with that firms' financial difficulties. As he thought through his future during quarantine, he realized that he wanted to be at a smaller firm and, moreover, that he wanted to return to the regional market where he grew up and develop his practice there. This was a great decision, and made all the difference in his job search. One of the best ways to increase your marketability for a law firm job is to return to your roots! Firms in regional markets love it when candidates join their firms in connection with a move back home. They feel that the candidate has roots in the community and is likely to remain for the long-term, investing in the firm along the way. As a side note, this is also why in the case of any relocation it is so important to show the firms that you have actual, credible ties to the place you are relocating to. Being from a place is one way to show this, but you can also show it other ways. For example, perhaps your spouse has just gotten a job in that market and you are already talking with real estate brokers there. You can also show commitment to a market by going ahead and getting admitted to the bar before you start applying there.

This candidate contacted me and explained the situation. I was excited to help him. I really liked him and felt that he was extremely wise to have figured out what he wanted and have the courage to follow that path. So many times I deal with candidates at AmLaw firms who are unhappy but cannot see past the prestige and money involved to the bigger picture of what is actually involved in a crafting a fulfilling life and career. It is such a pleasure to help people who are invested in the process of not just getting a new job but also in building a professional life that will be truly rewarding for years to come.

We began a targeted search in the regional market where he was from. He was open to different areas of litigation, but he did want to begin to focus his career and develop a specialty. He was a great candidate to work with and he approved all the firms I sent him. He was also very responsive in all other respects, like quickly getting me his writing samples and other documents I needed to present with his applications. It only took a few weeks and he got an interview with a great small firm that specialized in a niche area of litigation. Perfect! He would be working under the mentorship of excellent and highly credentialed attorneys, in his home market, and be developing a specialty as well. He would get to exercise the intellectual aspects of a litigation practice, but also get into the courtroom much sooner that he would be able to at a large firm in a major market, where he might spend years doing discovery and motion practice before even making a court appearance. He went through a series of interviews and was hired! This case study goes to show that with the right attitude a silver lining can await you even in the case of a lay-off.

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit
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