With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, many law-firm associates have experienced a number of situational changes which have largely been out of their control: reduced salaries, layoffs, cancellation of summer associate programs and fall hiring, and lateral movement of partners who, in some instances, were mentors or direct supervisors. It’s no surprise that associates might find themselves uneasy about their futures, wondering when the other shoe might drop or if they’ll be the next to go. The sense of despair and a loss of control is real and palpable, and it’s left many young lawyers uncertain over what, if anything, to do next.
Rather than give into the uncertainty, I’d like to suggest that affected associates instead see this as an opportunity to take stock of their surroundings, and to consider taking a proactive course of action by asking themselves these questions:
- What lateral defections have taken place at my firm, at what level, and in which practice areas?
- Have any of the firm’s key clients been adversely impacted by the crisis, and how has that affected the level work in my department?
- What steps has my firm taken to counter the effects of the economic downturn, and how well-positioned is it to come out on top?
- What have other firms done by comparison, and are they better positioned for the long term?
Asking questions such as these can not only educate young lawyers on their firm’s place within the market, and on the factors which bear on a firm’s success, it can also help re-establish a sense of control. While it’s often difficult to get the answers on one’s own, the good thing is that any seasoned legal recruiter should have most of this information at his or her fingertips. This is where the Partners Group comes in – we boast one of the most experienced legal recruiting teams in the country and has access to exactly these sort of metrics, and we’re always happy to have a confidential, educational discussion to help evaluate a given lawyer’s situation and potential options.
So, if you’re an associate and you’re unsure of what’s happening around you and how it might impact your situation, give us a call. You might discover that you’re actually pretty well-off given all that’s happening; on the other hand you might discover that now is actually an ideal time to consider making a move. We’re happy to help walk you through it and, if nothing else, re-establish that lost sense of control.