2022-0525 [Webinar] What You Need to do Immediately if You Lose Your Attorney Job: Take these Actions Right Now
[00:00:00] All right, so we're getting started. This is one of my favorite topics and I'm very surprised that I haven't done webinars or podcasts or anything about this in the past, because this is a very important topic. And the first thing is that most attorneys, meaning not all, but most, at some point in their career will lose their job, believe it, or lose it for things that they've caused or they'll lose it for things that haven't, that are completely beyond their control.
And people also tend to lose their jobs a lot more during recessions than during normal economies as well. Anytime you're going into recession lots of attorneys typically will lose jobs and also during comfortable here when the economy is good depending on your practice here, you may also lose a job too, and you can lose it for all sorts of reasons.
The point of what I'm going to talk about today is things that you do if you lose your position. And I think this is an extremely important topic because most people do lose their positions at some point or have lost some. And and I'm telling you the actions to take as someone that's in the trenches and sees, hundreds of resumes a week of people that have [00:01:00] lost jobs that are about to lose jobs and talks to people and has been doing this for decades about what to do.
So I'll do this webinar. And then after the webinar, I will. Take questions about this or anything else. Any other questions you w you want to happen. The first thing to understand is attorneys, by the way, at all levels, I'll lose her job. So I've seen lots of people. It's funny, but I've seen lots of people get fired as summer associates.
I've seen lots of people lose their jobs as senior attorneys, as associates as a, you can lose your job in the government. There's all sorts of people that will lose their jobs and it can be either your fault or not. But how you respond is typically going to determine what's going to happen to your to your future.
And in most cases, when people do lose their jobs, it's not all the typical has to do with the financial health of your organization, because when things are going well law firms, even if you screw up in a major way, we'll usually now let you go. And then sometimes it has to do a politics and or, many times it's also due to things that are within your control, such as having done or work.
You may have upset the wrong [00:02:00] people in the firm. You may also have a bad attitude, which is very common. You may not have networked with the right people. You may not have gotten enough hours. And and one of the problems of a lot of young attorneys, especially ones with an entitled attitude, which is a good proportion of people, especially ones that have done well.
A lot of their careers is that you can it's very easy to upset people. And and you can upset them for a variety of reasons. And and if you do then they will find out a way, find a way many times to get back. So there's a lot of things that can really impact your career as you go forward.
So a lot of things that happen to, especially when you're young are early lessons, I think that the people get in their career about ways to behave and not to behave. And and you have to learn how to get along and not just organizations, but legal organizations and and different ways of doing things.
And just, it's especially if it's your, it's one of your first jobs for many, it can be very difficult to transition. And especially if you have a sense of entitlement, you believe in today's special treatment because of the things you've done in the past, or and all sorts of things.
So [00:03:00] things can definitely catch up with you and people will lose jobs for those reasons, but they'll also lose them for a lot of reasons that many times may have nothing to do with their work quality or could be cause of discrimination. It could be because of your age, maybe because you don't fit in with a group of people you're in, it can be all sorts of things beyond your control.
And and so when it does happen, people will lose their jobs when they're in their sixties and seventies also realism when they're in their twenties. And if you do the point of what I'm going to talk about today is how to deal with that and losing your job is very traumatic. You may have invested your ego into the organization, or you may have invested years of your life in the organization, and to find out that suddenly you don't have a home there can be very upsetting.
It can be No shameful to your ego. It can be you can be embarrassing to your, with your colleagues. It can be your family many times. So when people lose their jobs, it's very common, especially for attorneys with I've seen them very often with eight to 10 years of experience, they get divorced.
You may lose friends your prestige in your community and your, all [00:04:00] sorts of things. Now, all these things that you're losing are actually many times positives because and, but if people are, that's why people like you, but at the same time it can cause great financial pressures.
If you lose your job and. It can help. It can make you question your existence. So people will feel even if they've lost their job at one of the top law firms in the world, that they shouldn't be an attorney, which is insane. It's and the point is everyone loses jobs for most people do, and they lose some for a variety of reasons.
They lose them because their work isn't up to snuff. They lose them because they're in the wrong environment, but the wrong people, they lose some because they're not working hard enough. It wasn't because they have a bad attitude. And so every, any reason you lose a job can be fixed. You just have to do some self-reflection.
And my point of this whole presentation is not to make you do self-reflection, but it's to tell you that most people will learn lessons just as you'll learn lessons from getting a bad grade in school and you didn't study enough or whatever, but it can be very stressful. One of the things I would just say at the outset [00:05:00] is it's much more difficult to find a job if you're unemployed, meaning you actually are not working.
You don't have a current employer in your resume than it is to find a position. If you are working now, that's for different markets, it means different things. So in an extremely competitive market New York or San Francisco, if you're not working, it becomes much harder to find a position because they have a lot of people to choose from.
But in smaller markets, it doesn't matter as much. And I'm definitely by no means an expert in dealing with psychological financial and other issues regarding loss of job, because everyone's situation is different. People lose jobs for all sorts of reasons. I've had so many Conversations with people that have lost jobs.
One woman I spoke to last night was talking about how she lost a job. It was actually yesterday afternoon, but she lost the job because she was seeing her mother and employers or something. And I've heard a lot of men say this, either father, employer, so have issue unresolved issues with relatives and other people have who knows where they were beat up when they were young or not.
I, it just all sorts of reasons. But the [00:06:00] point is that there's all sorts of issues that come up and those are things that you can spend a lifetime dealing with. But what I want to talk to you about today is how to get back on your feet right away, if you've lost your job, or you think you're going to lose your job or what to do to protect your future and your career, because I've been through this enormous number of times.
And I want to tell you exactly what to do. And the first thing is I I wanna w the first thing I wanna do is caution you that if you're going through this, or you're about to go through this, or how serious this is, because it's it is equality losing your job qualifies as a traumatic life event.
Not for some people, they don't care. I, I lost a job once in a parking cars, and I thought it was funny, but and that, that was a whole different discussion, but but most people, when, if you've invested yourself in something and you do lose your job, you care, so you don't want to you need to understand the seriousness of what's happening in that how you respond to that is going to make a difference in what happens in your career and things that you need to do right away to land on [00:07:00] top.
And you don't, you, or even if you don't do them right away, I think you're all going to need to do because it's not the kind of thing where you should be hiding your self. You should be hiding under a pillow or. Burying your head in the sand it's thing where if it does happen to you you need to take action and and you need to do so immediately.
The first thing that losing your job. Most attorneys in most firms and employers, if you're going to lose your job you have a pretty good sense that something's going to happen, but not always. I have one story that's funny where I knew a girl that was working at a big firm and doing very well and, or she taught, and she'd gone to Berkeley and was working at a major firm in Silicon valley.
And one day they walked in and just said, and they were busy. And they said, we don't think this is a good fit. We'd like you to leave. And that was it. And she had no idea what was happening. And but most people do. And she wound up at a even better firm and met her husband and all sorts of great things happened as a consequence of that.
But the point is that typically you'll have an idea that you're going to lose your job before it happens. Most law firms, especially that a lot of work. And they're very concerned about their reputation. We'll give you some sort of warning to start [00:08:00] looking for a job. They'll say things like, there's not enough work for you.
I don't know if you're going to get work from there's there's not a lot of opportunity. Let's just, they'll say things like that to them. And that will start motivating to look for a job or usually several months before the person is fired. Not always, but generally. And they'll just feel like a lot of small slights, you may not be invited to things repeatedly, or you may be left out of work and not given work.
If you're not getting hours, people won't say anything. There's just certain things that will happen before you lose your job, that will give you an indication that you probably should start looking at some firms, most firms, by the way, especially with senior people will be very direct. They'll say, we'd like you to have a job in the six months, or we'd like, you have a job, whatever.
And that makes it a lot easier, but a lot of them won't. And and typically what they'll do is so often. Come into your office and they'll give you some bad news or they'll call you and do a conference room. You might be sitting in your desk and get a call. Who knows, or you'll get a request to go on a zoom meeting or something.
And and then at that point you need to understand what you're going to do [00:09:00] now. If that does happen to you you have to really understand what you need to negotiate and you need to understand how to react right away, because and then you can sometimes six, how you acted about you need to be prepared for everything that happens.
And I can't certainly go through a list of all the ways you're gonna know you're gonna lose your job, but typically what happens and just so you can understand, if you're going to lose a position is when anytime the stock market slows down dramatically or a work slows down dramatically in your firm, or you start seeing people leaving or complained about work and things.
And that goes on for extended period of time, and you're not getting work and you're not seeing opportunities. And and then you start seeing people let go. That's a sign that probably the things are good. And and usually, especially if you're the kind of person watching this right now you may not you're obviously interested in your career for watching this, but a lot of people are flipping and don't pay attention and care.
And the law firm picks up on that. Those are used to some of the first people to go. And if you see people like [00:10:00] that, losing their jobs then you know, if the law firm is slowing down, you could be the next person. So one of the first thing is when you do find out you're losing a job, you really don't want to get mad.
The law firms may have their mind they're not really going to go back on it. And if, even if they do. It's a sign that out of all the people that are there, they've selected you as someone to go. And as unfortunate as that is in most layoffs and in most places, times when they let people go they don't let everyone go.
They they will let some people go, but not everyone. And so they who determined that you're not one of the people that they are going to use this occasion to let go. It may be that just, you are getting, let go. But but if you don't think it's going to, if they don't think it's going to work out, you need to think about moving on right away.
But the thing is you don't want to make the people that are fighting your enemy. It, believe it or not. Most employers, 95% of them very much dislike letting people go. I don't like letting people go I've known several very powerful executives that, people are going to be, let go.
They always leave the [00:11:00] office and they don't want to be involved. And there's a whole movie I think, is up in the air about outside companies that come in to let people go, people hate firing people. Are they really Or say negative things to the people and it started hard for them. Those people that are letting you go, you have to look at them as hard as it is.
I take yourself out of the situation for a moment and look at them with a little bit of sympathy and understand that this is not easy for them to do. And rather than making them your enemy and they can, they need to push you out there right away. You really want to do what you can if possible to get them in your corner.
And and cause you're going to need to ask them to do a lot of stuff, to help you over the several next several days and weeks. And if you can get them in your corner you're going to be a much better. So you need to listen to what they're saying. Don't interrupt. Usually they'll give you one reason after another or there'll be very vague and things.
And you may want to say who said that, or why did they say that? And generally arguing with them at that point isn't going to help you. That's just going to put them on the defensive. You want them actually to feel sorry for you and to want to help you at this point, because they've made up their mind.
And usually they're not even the person who's [00:12:00] responsible for, then you go, they're usually doing someone else's dirty work. So it's likely to be a very traumatic event for them too. And and they're not coping. They're not happy. And so what I would recommend is listening to, to everything they're saying to you and their reasons for letting you go and and just not even, respond and just pretend like you hear what they're saying, don't get mad.
And because if they law firm picks are going to be adverse to them they're going to act much differently than a things go well. So a lot of people. The law firm most law firms will not give a lot of reasons. It will just say the decisions were made to let you go. That's what most people will do and they won't give reasons, but if you start, if they start giving you reasons then your tendency will be to argue.
And as an attorney, you'll want to argue and that's how everybody handles this thing. And I don't think that's going to be really a good idea. And a lot of attorneys will immediately especially people that are experienced in a watch employers get sued and so forth will consider their legal options and and start looking for holes and arguments and things.
And that's just not a good idea. And they may believe that they're [00:13:00] being, let go for reasons that get with age or their race or their sex, her who knows but and it's possible that's the reason, but that you don't want to to really make an issue out of that stuff at this point.
You want to listen to what the person saying and allow them to talk. And and and that's not to say that that you have to not be defensive at some point, but the point is that you need the law firm to help you at this point, because you're going to ask some stuff for them, which I'm gonna talk to you about shortly when they do let you go.
And and as an attorney, everyone's looking for legal options and. And and taking that point of view is really never a good idea. One thing I will say is anytime you Sue someone or you file a lawsuit, it does become public record and your name is used and so forth in the lawsuit.
So law firms will find that they will search databases and things before they hire you some times they will learn about it and they will read the complaints and they'll read the responses. [00:14:00] And the second someone sees something like that they typically run for the Hills because they don't, it's not a question of who's.
It's just a question that you thought, you wanted to do that. And I don't know. I know lots of attorneys that have certainly sued employers out of those attorneys. I think that it's very difficult for them to get new jobs. And and people reference it and and so forth in the future.
And so you have to be very careful. Now if someone's done something horrible to you, then of course, you need to do what you need to do, but you just need to be very careful. And and because the law firm will defend itself and they'll find every episode of bad performance and they'll make you look like a bad attorney and that information will become a public record and stuff in the past, in the future.
And they won't all do that, of course, but but if there's truth to it, they will. And so you have to be careful and it just, you don't want to be avoided by attorneys in the future. I've seen, I see people sometimes and I'm like, why, what the heck look at the record.
And I'm like, this is an amazing record. And then I see that they're not working and I'm like, what's going on? Like, why is this person been on? And then I do a search for the person. [00:15:00] And the first thing I find, find just like pleadings and things of them suing an employer and the response.
And then it's just, you just have to be very careful. Because a lot of times, if you see someone that immediately comes up and people don't search for your name, because it becomes part of a public record and so forth then and it's just, and again, I'm not dissuading you one way or another.
I'm just saying it's a cost benefit analysis that you have to make as part of the legal profession. And and for the most part, I've never seen it turn out positively thinking about suing a law firm for firing you is pretty dangerous because again, it's going to be you and likely a small law firm or solo practitioner against a big law firm and that's pretty scary.
And and so you just have to be careful. And so I would not get mad do not threaten with any type of lawsuit or saying that this looks like, retribution or discrimination or anything. You certainly have the time to say that later, but don't say it at this point.
And and you have to be very careful and and just be very careful about, what's [00:16:00] happening at that point. Your point of this, your objective, when you get laid off is really to just gather information and listen to what happened. And And and do your best to try to get worrying about getting positive references and some other things I'm going to talk about in the future.
So that's kinda what happens there. So the first thing is don't get mad when someone comes into your office and talks to you about it, or when you go into a conference room listen to what they say. You can certainly solicit information from them and ask them questions about, what about this?
What about this? When they bring things up? But don't ask too much. Don't put people on the defensive and then say, thank you for telling me this. I realized this must have been difficult for you. I certainly don't want to make trouble. And and I appreciate everything, you told me and could you give me a day or two to get back to you?
Most firms will not make you leave right. Then if you've done something really bad, then they may. But you really need to be very careful at this point. And and not get mad at them and come across this understanding of their point of view. Cause nothing's going to change by your man.
There's so many things that's going to [00:17:00] happen. If you get mad is going to be that they're going to get defensive and you're going to break off communication. Your objective at this point is really to keep the lines of communication open and to make them like you and to make them feel sorry for you.
And and I've seen instances, I've had instances where I've fired people. I had one instance where I fired one guy and he came in. He was in, I think, San Francisco and had him going to work for a month. And I'm like, you know what, no, this doesn't work. And then of course he was a cruder.
So he was servicing candidates and and people weren't getting service, which is just horrible to me. And meaning people aren't being sent new jobs and and things weren't, and this was years ago, but a long time ago, over a decade ago. But I was upset. And so I just was like, this is insane.
After a couple of learnings, I just said, I don't, you can't work here anymore. And then he flew down to. Los Angeles and came to our office and and talked to me and our COO. And he's I felt really badly, but maybe this is what's going on. I'm it was a [00:18:00] crazy story, but he he married this woman that was when he was 10 years younger than him when he was 30 or 28 or something, I don't remember.
But a very young woman that he met in some foreign country and and she got over to the United States and they got married and started running around with other guys. And he was like, I just haven't been able to deal with this. And it was very hard for me. And and it's been, it's causing me a lot of turmoil and I felt sorry for him.
And I was like, wow, that's just not good. I'm sorry. And and so I, I didn't think it was a good idea, but a guy that was working with me did to bring them back and I kept them back on. So sometimes if the employer fails, but then he didn't end up working out the same thing happened again, but it was for another reason.
But the point is if the employer feels sorry for you and sympathizes with you, that's much better. Especially if there's personal things that have caused us that are legitimate and believable. Then if they, if you just get mad and defensive we certainly don't want to look weak, but telling the employer some extenuating circumstances or things that have happened can sometimes benefit you and I but I would leave it at that.
And I'm not an [00:19:00] expert in this particular way of responding, but I'll just bring it leave it at that, that that you don't want the person mad at you'd rather have them sympathetic towards you. I don't know that crime is a good idea because you're obviously an attorney and you're going to be out representing their clients and things.
But if they have some sort of sympathy for you, it's probably not going to change their mind. In that case for me, but it's going to it's going to make it's going to make it. So the next thing I would recommend is until you understand what is negotiable not to sign anything. A lot of times firms will present you with documents, so you walk into a room and and they are there and they fire you.
And and then at the same time, they're asking you to sign an agreement. Then I had, there was a law firm that I worked at that's no longer a business. And and there was a there was a senior they, I bet I've told the story before, but it's a, it's a crazy story. The firm administrator and it was a big firm like over, I don't know, 500 attorneys or something.
And maybe over a thousand and the firming administrator was going to try to send an email to all partners, [00:20:00] but instead it went to all personnel cause she didn't type, she typed lot to fill in and it basically, it was a discussion of all the people that they were going to make partner that year.
And then the people that they weren't going to make partner and they were going to blow off and that they thought that they could string along for a couple years. And so they had, we'll be differing, for two years will be different for three. And I don't know that they were telling people they were anyway, there was all this kind of information that shouldn't have gone out.
So we were all sitting in this firm in a Friday afternoon and all of a sudden everyone got this email and and was astonished. And and then they shut off all the power and the entire, all the floors of the firm. This was before people had email at home and all that kind of thing. But so anyway, so they shut off all the power and the Senator went home on a Friday afternoon, which was nice because they don't want people reading this email, but everyone had seen it by then anyway.
But the point of it is that. Senior associate down the hall from me that wasn't going to, that was on this list. It was going to be deferred, was very upset. And there had been this mini merger between two, two from another firm that had come in. And the other firm that had come in had all the power.
So they were making [00:21:00] some people that they'd brought in partner and he wasn't making partner and he was upset. So the partner from this competing firm walked into his office on a Monday morning and gave him an assignment that was really almost like a very menial assignment that you would give to a summer associate or a first year just to kind of mess with them.
I don't know why he did this. And and the guy said, listen I'm really upset after this email, on Friday. And I've been told for the past couple years, and my partner, I'm not upset about it. I'm upset. I'd rather not play this game in the right now. Let's reset the senior partner and the senior partner said, okay, then he came back 15 minutes later whatever the amount of time is half hour, I don't know.
And he said, I have two things for you. One, I have an agreement where I'm going agree to pay. We'll agree to pay this much money to leave right now and sign it. And the other your other option is just to leave right now and not get anything. And so he chose the agreement and ended up being it was a non-disparagement and everything.
And ended up being unemployed for quite a while. Cause he was senior and had a little bit difficult time finding a job. So [00:22:00] a lot of times firms will do that. They'll present you with things, right? When they're firing you, asking you to sign them right away and return, they'll get you severance or mutual non-disparagement I dunno.
But and and it's very difficult. And this is just something for you to remember to sign these kinds of things when you're shocked that you've just been lost your job. And so I would understand when you take a look at these contracts, I've always believed in. And I think this is true that, you need to be presented with contract terms and you need to understand what's in these contracts and what's negotiable and what isn't.
And and and if a law firm is writing a contract and they're asking you to sign it, the odds are it's going to be highly in their favor. And so you need to make sure that that you take a look at it and what the terms are. There could be all sorts of things in there that, you're never allowed to who knows, but there's usually going to be some negotiating room because a law firm doesn't want to get sued.
And the law firm doesn't mean that problem, that doesn't need the, the hassle and time that involved with the damage to their reputation and their clients being concerned. And so if the law firm does ask you to review some documents, you don't even have to [00:23:00] say, I'm going to give it to my lawyer, which you can, but you just say, I would like to, I'm upset right now, I'm in not any condition to read this.
I would like a few days just to process everything and then come back to you. And then and then and then and do it that way. If you sign something right away you're really giving away a rights. And that and this is a kind of a story about this, thing I told you about earlier.
And assuming Matt and then partner. But anyway I'm going to give you two choices and that have this story. That is something just to think about, so be careful about signing anything and agreeing to anything and.
Especially when you're upset and you're trying to make people happy or you don't you're off you're off from, you're new you're having some issues. The next thing I would recommend is not telling people you were fired the new, not announced to other attorneys you were fired, or not see anyone in the firm you were fired.
You don't announce the, when you don't trust right now, you're not fired, but you do not need to tell your side of the story right now. If you lose your job I really, if it was me, I wouldn't tell anyone you do you want to be as quiet as possible? You can say we mutually [00:24:00] agreed to part terms.
You can say whatever you want or you can say just, it wasn't a good fit for him, but you don't want to tell people you were fired. That's like telling people, going into a crowded room and announcing I have. No some does some contagious disease. That's not going to help you. It's you don't do these things.
You don't want to go around announcing you were fired. You don't want to tell if you can avoid it. You certainly to be honest, but you don't need to tell future employers that you were fired. You don't need to tell your colleagues, you were fired. You don't need to even tell your friends outside of your firm, you were fired.
You want to have the reputations of skill competent and demand attorney. Now, certainly people understand the good people get fired and things are beyond your control and so forth, but announcing this stuff is not going to help you. If you go and you tell people that you're a former felon, or you're a that's how you're going to be defined.
You go and tell people that you're a wife beater or Europe, a husband beater or whatever. That's how people are going to define you and see you and people, the problem with people and is that people are always looking for for stories and to say negative [00:25:00] things about people.
They will take things out of context. They will and do things with a meaning that's not there. And and you really do not want people to believe that there's problems with you. You may need moral support but honestly, nothing positive is going to come from telling others about something negative happened to you, especially your peers because what'll happen is you'll tell your peers in your law firm.
And if you tell your peers in your law firm, they're suddenly going to go in house and they're going to be in all sorts of other firms where you might want to work in the future. And they will remember that and think that there's something wrong with you. Maybe if you apply to those firms in the future, They will volunteer that information to people.
If you're there in house, in the future, they will volunteer that if they see things from you and and it's just not going to help you. So your definitely your interest is going to be, you're going to want to say things to people about this, but honestly, it's not going to help you. And so you need to be as careful as you possibly can about the information that you share.
Anytime [00:26:00] something, this is the same thing goes with negative reviews or you have a reputation to uphold with your peers and and you need to be careful people are going to talk, and this is going to damage your future reputation. I, people, it's very interesting to me, like people get fired for all sorts of reasons.
Inside of law firms, people get fired for things like dating some senior associate can get fired for dating. A mid-level associate who he signs work to literally a a partner he can get fired for coming to work with a rip in their jeans that shows part of his underwear.
I've seen some of the most bizarre things and and and I'm not saying that the firms didn't have a right to fire people for these reasons because I wasn't there and I don't know anything about it, but but if you get a reputation for anything I saw this one part of that would have credible, but the business, it was massive.
It was in the tens of millions of dollars and he got fired for dating a subordinate and not doing just that. And he was the head of a big department and a major us law firm. And and and then he became labeled as a and this is certainly a different time, but he became labeled as [00:27:00] basically a predator.
And once they found out the reason that he left it, wasn't the fact that he was leaving the firm. That was a problem. It was that. So you need to be careful and you just need to understand that anybody that you come in contact with is going to be in a position at some point, whether or not they're your subordinate right now, or they're above you or your level where if they have the reason to doubt your competence and desirability in the future that's going to create problems.
And and the people that you know fired, you have no reason to spread rumors. They want to keep things quiet there. They don't want to tell people that they're the ones that fired you. They don't want you coming back and, and suing the, from there, they're not telling people they're going to keep it quiet.
So you need to be very careful about that. And and I've seen one of the things that I really like about a lot of the best firms and I've seen some like really good firms let people go I'm talking about like the very best firms out there. And if you took the top 10, most prestigious firms have probably encounter people from every one of those firms.
That's lost their job at some point. And multiple people and those firms, most of them, the best firms will never say [00:28:00] anything negative about anybody. No, they won't. The, you could call up you call up the person that fired them and say, oh, she's a lovely person. And he's he's really got a great bag.
They'll say all these nice things and and the more senior the attorney gets the better it's really the, and I hate to say this, but a lot of times it's the firms that are less economic secure funding, or less sure about themselves that are the ones that will be out to get you, if they let you go.
And I don't know why that is, but but the largest firms really I've always been amazed by that. They're just very, there's a very collegial thing where they protect their alumni and not always, of course, but a lot, most of them do. Just remember if you feel like you need to tell your side of the story, there's going to be risk in this.
And the point is that I think what has. I just, I had an interesting thing happened quite recently where again, I saw this resume of this person. I think she went to she went to a great law school and it might've been don't know, I think it was maybe Michigan or I don't remember what it was, but I saw her resume and she had this incredible background and I looked her up and and she'd sued somebody first she'd [00:29:00] sued her law firm.
And then after that, she'd sued some other random person who was a business or something, but all they talked about in the business and I just looked her up on Google. It wasn't like I was doing a special searches. But all they talked about was how she sued her former law firm and loss. And this is what she alleged and, she was a bad person cause she sued a law firm and this is what they said about her.
And I couldn't believe that. It was just like a state court opinion, but the point is that that most of the time people, unless you start telling, I dunno, you just have to be careful. And I would make you understand that most people are not going to want to tell others that you were fired.
It's not nice to speak negatively about others and the best attorneys and the one that had been ones that have been doing things for the longest will never say anything negatively about you. Really they, it's just not the right thing to do because they know that better can come back to bite them and they don't want the same thing done to them.
And and it's just the rules of decorum. And I think I'll just say again, that I think that these rules of decorum are even more pronounced in the highest levels of the legal profession than in the lower levels where [00:30:00] whatever reason that people are more frequent more interested in saying negative things, but the best firms have rarely do that unless you go after them and really piss them off.
The next thing is. You really need to get as much time as you possibly can to find a new job. And and I said this at the beginning of this, but I want you to make sure you understand that it's a lot easier to get another job when you're employed versus when you're unemployed, if you're unemployed it's going to be much more difficult to find a position.
The reason is that the law firm than other employers that are interviewing, you will assume, even if it's not true, that you're unemployed for involuntary reasons, meaning that you may have done something really bad. And one of these big law firms and they let you go, but their numbers, they know that they're never going to say anything negative about you.
But the you're unemployed for that reason, or you just left the job and you're untrustworthy to stick around. They don't know, but the point is if you're unemployed, it's going to become much more difficult for you to find a position. And and the most important thing you can do to keep your position when, I mean to, when you're looking, when you're let go by a law firm is to [00:31:00] try to keep on the law firm's website and try to look employed as long as you possibly can.
And and a lot of firms may, I've seen firms give people two years. It's that's very rare, but, firms will give people often quite a bit of time to stay on the website, to have their voicemail, to have their phone picked up and so forth when people are calling and for whatever reason the largest firms tend to give the most times and the smallest law firms tend to give the least I don't know why that is.
A lot of law firms, smaller law firms will just say, get outta here. And it's just, they're not but larger law firms have systems in place and they want to have Goodwill in the market. They know that you might be going in house and then they live, learn to think long-term and develop more procedures.
I don't know what the reason is, but you really do want to get time to find a new position if you're let go, because it's going to be much easier for you to find a job. If you're. If you're currently employed than if you're not employed. And and and law firms, especially if you don't upset them, you don't get mad, you don't get defensive.
They're often going to give you more time rather than less time to find a position. And then at the [00:32:00] law firms upset and they think you're a liability and you're talking negatively to people then they're going to give you less time. So the big thing about, if you were a law firm, just think about your position, you would not want someone around who is angry, who is undermining you with clients.
Who's undermining you with other employees. Who's clearly against you, who's trying to Sue you, you would want them off your property right away looking for trouble, all sorts of things. But if you're someone that doesn't threaten them, then they're going to obviously be more inclined to give you time.
And that time is very helpful for you in terms of finding a new position, because you're going to be much more employable if you're employed and unemployed again, unemployed attorneys look like they either don't want to work, or they've been let go for some reason that was within their control or they just weren't valuable enough to be kept around.
And other people were kept around. It were more valuable in either sense. It's not regardless of how you frame it or you may not even need to work. I don't like that one either. Or your career's not that important to you. They don't [00:33:00] know, but regardless of how you frame it but the law firms not going to like it.
So you other employers aren't you have to understand that everything's negotiable and the amount of time you have defining a job, it's critical because the more time you have on the better off you're going to be, and the more less you are likely to be a desperate. Defined a new position.
So you don't want to have to take a position. The first thing that becomes available, you don't want to have to move to another state or city or, sell your house and pay, who knows. Move our kids out of school. If you don't have to, you just, you want to have as many options as you can. So the more time you have the better better off you'll be now, you can often negotiate how long you're going to be working there, meaning how long you're going to be getting paid.
So the law firm may agree to pay you for three months or six months or a year who knows. Maybe I would agree to that. Then the law firm that's letting you go for financial reasons may not be able to do that, but they can still keep you on their website and and other things.
And also in most cases I would recommend at least three months to find a position. It takes a while to get a position by the way. And this [00:34:00] is something that sometimes people get frustrated with because they don't understand why it takes so long. And I'll tell you briefly why it takes a long time can take a long time to find a position just so you're prepared for this and understand why you need as much time as possible.
The first thing to find a position is most of the time, if you go onto a job site and you look for jobs or you contact a recruiting firm, or, however you go about it, the first jobs they're going to send you are typically going to be jobs that have been open for a week, a month, two months, or haven't been filled yet.
And what often happens most of the time is if a law firm has an opening in say, they say the firm is in a. Cleveland. And they have an opening for a corporate associate that opening for a corporate associate. And if it's been open for two weeks, probably within the first two or three days, they received several applications once the job with Ms.
Life. And they're probably interviewing and going to hire from the initial applications that came in. So they'll look at all the applications that come in the first few days, they'll [00:35:00] pick a couple of people that they like and start bringing those people in for interviews. And then all these other applications will filter in later.
And it's a lot of work. Imagine you're getting all these emails and resumes and so most law firms, I'm not saying this is the right thing to do. And I'm not saying that they all do it, but what happens is they'll interview from the first couple of days or a week or so of the resumes that come in and they will often not even review the ones that come in later.
So when you start applying to positions, you're often not getting new positions or you're putting yourself in a competition with, until you've been searching for a week, two weeks, a month, two months, and then you start becoming into competition for those new positions. When you start receiving those, the second pay come out, which is another reason, by the way, it's important to apply to jobs as soon as they become available.
So the point is that it can take a while to get a position. Also depends on the state of the market, the economy your what market you're in the, your practice area all sorts of things. So if you're in a very obscure practice [00:36:00] area, it could take you a long time. If you're a food and drug attorney in Arizona it's going to take you a while to find a job, and then you may need to go to DC or some other market because there's not a lot of firms that do that kind of work there.
It just depends on your background. If you're a patent attorney in New York city where there's there's certainly a patent opportunities, but there's a the billing rates are very high there. And it's just, it depends on where you're at. So you need to understand, and and most serious legal employers, meaning the largest law firms and the biggest market.
Especially in their main office can often take from the time you apply to the time and offer comes can take a month or even months to get the offer. And then you have reference checks and all sorts of things that can take weeks. And so you just need to be very careful. Now I've seen people get offers in days or hours.
I saw one person. People can get an offer the same day they apply. It's, you don't know, but you can't control these things. And the first thing is if you have a less than a year of experience, which is when a lot of people are let off, let go it can take you it can be very difficult to find a new [00:37:00] position because there's a presumption that you've done something very bad.
Junior associates are expecting to make all sorts of mistakes and act appropriately and do things, but they sometimes are there, things are not fixed. Whether it's her attitude or who knows or mistakes so it can take a long time. And then if you have more than seven years of experience, it can also be very difficult to find a position depending on the economy and depending on what's going on.
And again, if you're in a niche practice area which is trademark, environmental and so forth, it can also be very difficult to find a position, especially if you're at a very prestigious firm and or you're at a, a small market and so forth. So a small markets can be more difficult than larger markets when the economy's bad it can be extremely difficult to find a position as a corporate attorney.
For one example, in, during major recessions corporate gets impossible. There's just nothing. And and then if the economy is good it may not be difficult. If you've had a lot of jobs in the past meaning you're on you, you have a job every year or two, and you've been doing [00:38:00] that for awhile.
Employers are going to be skeptical of you and realize that the odds are that you might probably leave again. They they would prefer to hire someone with more employment stability, and often it's much more difficult to find a position at a prestigious firm. Then when the less prestigious one.
And that's something also to consider and And again, business is another big deal that can help you find business. So it's just important to keep in mind and understand your marketability how marketable you are what the economy's the market you're in the size market.
And there's a lot of things that are going to matter. And and the more you understand these the more you need to be concerned about getting more time and you need to be in a position where you can take all these points that I've just talked about and tell the law firm, this is why I'm, this is a very small market.
I'm going to need to sell my house and relocate, you create an, a major problem for me, or this is a very bad market for corporate attorneys right now. I need, you're going to have to leave me on your website in order for me to, be able to find an in-house or do something or [00:39:00] work in a smaller market or find a smaller firm.
This is a I'm a first-year attorney. How do you expect me to find something getting, losing my job, or I'm a senior attorney. There's nothing for me because, it's very hard to find senior jobs, all these things are very crucial. And in, regardless of whether you're on the law firms, payroll date, you want to allow the, you want them to allow you to keep your voicemail and so forth as long as possible, because once you're off the site other firms and employers are just going to presume, that you're fired or there's problems with you and are going to be less likely to hire you.
And so you want to really, that's my biggest piece of advice is to negotiate as much time as you can. And I'll talk a little bit about how to do your job search next, but you need to have as much time as you can. And and some law firms, by the way do have ethical concerns. They have malpractice insurance.
They have. All sorts of reasons that they may not want to leave you on the website. And they they don't want to mislead other attorneys in the firm. They may not want to mislead if you've done something wrong, they may not want to mislead a tub, make it [00:40:00] appear that was okay. They may not want to miss this loosely, the public.
They don't know, but you need to be careful. And but most law firms will lie in negotiate us and rather than turning her and immediately being threatening my biggest piece of advice is that you should go and really do the best you can to to have to get as much time as possible.
I've actually think I've seen some law firms give two years, but they will give you plenty. And that's when they're letting go of people that aren't going to make partner generally. But most law firms allow you as a voicemail to be on their website to get emails. And they'll allow you for one to three months after you leave.
And the better terms you live, leave on the more likely they are to allow you to do this. And again, I've seen people. Law firms extend this repeatedly. If you leave your firm, they may, and they say, you can leave, we'll leave you out for eight weeks. And then and then you still haven't found a job offer after eight weeks.
They may extend this. If you call them and and tell them you're interviewing and you need this to close everything. They can do that. So just remember that this point can be negotiable and to the extent that you can you need to do that. So [00:41:00] this is the other piece of advice that a lot of people don't follow and I believe this is extremely important.
If you are regardless of whether or not you're working you need to move as quickly as possible. If you are not working in the law firm is basically starting to take away your work or told you, you don't have a job and you, and your whatever's happening your objective is to as quickly as you possibly can make sure that there's no.
Gap on your resume. And this means taking very quick action and by quick action, applying to as many places as you possibly can, as quickly as you can and as widely as possible. So that means not just applying to the very best firms in your market, even though your ego says you should be working in one of them, it means applying to lots of different firms or different calibers and so forth.
So you can get interviews. And at least the worst that can happen is you can practice your interviewing skills and have an offer lined up. If you don't get something else it's applying to as many markets as possible not just your home market, but other markets, if your market is slow. And this is not something that [00:42:00] people want to hear.
I come up against this on a daily basis. I have meetings about this every morning, cause I'm trying to, I want people to be able to not have gaps on their resume. And I was monitor all of our candidates and watch what's happening to them. And people don't like this, but it's what you need to do.
And it's the action you need to take. And it's what works. One of the things, this is a statistic that's in internal, but I find it astonishing 85% of the placements that our company makes are with firms that don't even have openings. So think about that 85%. So we certainly send people openings, but we also send them places we think would be good fits for them, which are, bright and a lot of the time they're not always right, but but they're they're very well thought out.
And they're based on our history with the firm and interviewing some more people. But the point is 85% firms hire people, not just because they have an opening post, but they have an opening person that's actually makes the job much more competitive. And they're far more competitive because they're suddenly getting lots of resumes and reviewing things.
And and, but if they don't have an opening posted, then they're just hiring you for [00:43:00] business reasons. And business reasons are important if you if I run a if I'm running a building a house. On the side of a hill or something, and suddenly someone comes up to me and says, can I help you build this house?
I'm a great carpenter. Sure. Of course I'll get it done faster. I'll so the point is that law firms hire people for business reasons. So to have the work they'll hire you and you don't need to apply, especially the law firms to every place. It has an opening and you can apply to places that are good matches, and they will look at your resume.
Especially if you're at a top, am law 100 law firm and you apply to another AmLaw 100 law firm. They're going to look at you. If you're at a three person personal injury firm and you apply to other three person, personal injury firms, or 5% personal injury firms in your city, they're going to look at you.
It's just, you have to take these actions and it's how people get jobs. And it's what works. Now. People don't want to hear that. I don't know why. I don't know why that people don't like it. I think that a lot of it has to do with that. There's so much work involved in those kinds of applications. And maybe I don't know, but but that's [00:44:00] people that you're relying on.
Don't want to do the work, or I don't know, but that's where the jobs are and massive actions required. You need to apply as many places as you possibly can. There's no sense. And not getting your materials out there. There's absolutely no sense because there's nothing you don't stand to lose anything.
You only thing you stand to lose is interview, practice or an offer our information or networking. There's nothing to lose. Absolutely nothing. So I don't get people that lose their jobs, do the stupidest things. They may only apply to three or four openings and be very I saw one guy lose his job.
I couldn't believe it. I've seen people that are losing their jobs that will go through a list of a hundred possible places and reject them all. And then and then maybe come back two weeks later and say, Hey, I thought about it. And I'll apply to this one place. And I was like, what the heck? And it just because you apply to someplace doesn't mean anything.
Most people are more concerned about themselves than you. It's not going to affect your ego [00:45:00] interviewing at a firm or an employer. That's not as qualified or as prestigious as the one you're at. No, one's going to remember it. You are entitled to go out and interview with people. This is you're entitled to Watch the television shows you on you.
You can, no one cares. It's not the law firms, a business. And and they hire people when they can make money. And your objective when you're looking for a job is to find a place that can use your skills and make money off you. That's it really, there's nothing really to worry about. And if they have enough work and it makes business sense for them to hire you, then they will.
And in law firms don't always represent the business opportunity to represent until you show up and interview. And they see that there's someone that can hire some law firms. I've seen law firms. I had one guy that I've had, the craziest things happen. I had one guy that was a I don't know he was a litigator.
No, he was a corporate I'm sorry. I was a corporate attorney. And and he did a a mass mailing. This is through another company is to have our through, to a bunch of places and got jobs with firms who do [00:46:00] nothing but litigation because they want to start corporate practices and he didn't even have any litigate any no litigation.
They didn't even have corporate practices. So you just don't know what can happen. And all sorts of things can happen when when you reach out to places and they they will hire you even without knowing one of the funniest things that ever happened to me. So one of the first.
I started recruiting. I had three or four separate candidates that were having a really hard time finding a job. One of them was a guy that had been a partner in a big law firm that had been gone to Washington DC to work for the sec, and then had been exposed as a polygamist, which he wasn't, it wasn't part of his religion.
He'd just been married more than one woman at the same time. And and then it came out and it was all over the big newspapers and he was completely shamed, had been unemployed for three or four years. And then I had another woman that something terrible happened to her. She was in law school and had a professor that was harassing her and I don't know what was going on.
[00:47:00] Exactly. But it was not a good, it was a sexual harassment type of situation. And then she started her at her firm, right when she graduated from law school and the she was right next door to him. And he had, after he had gotten fired from the law firm, the law school, he'd gone to work at the same law firm and she was right next door to him.
And and couldn't and told the firm and the firm's side with with him. And so she was completely devastated. So I had her and a couple other people that were similar bad situations. One woman had been anyway, it doesn't matter. But the point is I was reading the San Francisco daily journal one day and the San Francisco daily journal is just a legal newspaper.
And I read this article about this firm. It wasn't even on, it was just, there was a quotation, it was a relatively small firm of five or six attorneys maybe a few more than that. And they were saying things like I've never had so much seen so much work in my career. This is, this market is it's the best legal market.
And for corporate work that I've seen [00:48:00] 30, all these kinds of quotes. And I saw that and I sent all these people the woman that was unemployed because she'd left the firm after being next to this guy. And I didn't really have any experience. And then the guy that had been a polygamist and basically shamed out of the legal profession and and a couple other people and the law firm hired them all and it had hired them had never even worked with recruiters.
It didn't even know how a recruiter work, but they hired them all for me. And and the point is that they had a lot of work. And so law firms, there's a law firms like that everywhere. And this law firm didn't have any job postings. They didn't use recruiters at the time. But they, when they certainly did when I found them.
But the point is that there's always like lots of opportunities like that in every market. And and so you can find them and certain law firms are busy. Another, just quick thing, I'll tell you is. During the recession, there was a big recession, which in 2008, 2011 all the major law firms in the major cities shut down with our corporate departments.
They didn't shut down, but they [00:49:00] slowed down their hiring. And what happens a lot of times when the work slows down at big firms is the same clients still have ongoing work, but they'll just put it in a smaller law firms. So the law firms in Chicago may send their their work to the suburbs and to smaller firms in the suburbs.
And so instead of sending to the biggest firms in Chicago, they'll send it to the suburbs. And so all of our recruiters in Chicago is one example. And then some other markets started sending things to smaller markets and they made more placements during the worst recession and they then they made before it.
So the point is that, and they weren't applying to any openings. We were just sending people to the firms that we thought we would be interested in people. So the point is you can apply to places whether or not they have openings and should and job boards are great. I've run job boards, but also on our job board law crossing that I run there's also a thing called archive job.
You can see the history of all the firms that have had openings. Cause a lot of times firms that have had openings in the past, we'll often have the same openings in the future. They just kind of cycle through things. So they'll have ongoing openings, meaning [00:50:00] they'll always be looking for litigators or patent attorneys and things.
But you should apply to pretty much every place you can when you're looking for a job. And and this is unfortunately mostly recruiters won't do that unless the employer has an opening or they have a extremely good relationship with them, are there, they're afraid of upsetting people.
It's a lot of work. You have to format letters and make sure that, there's just a lot of things that go into it, but you can apply to as many places as you want. And I recommend, especially if you've lost a position or you're losing it to to do this. And I would get people jobs.
Every week I get people interviews every hour of every day doing this. Not every hour, but every work hour of every day, pretty much doing this. And so it works and it's a sensible and smartest way to get a position. Just remember that. I don't know how many