Amid Multiplying Law Firm Layoffs, Associates are Getting Anxious

Last week, Dechert announced its decision to reduce its global workforce by 5 percent, following a 15 percent dip in profits earlier this year. The reason given was a goal of “aligning staffing with levels of demand.”

Days prior, Cravath Swaine & Moore announced it was cutting associate positions in London. Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft also cut about 15 associates and 30 business professionals last month.

The trend rattle associates who worry about whether they could be next.

Recruiters have also mentioned that the associate recruitment market has stayed quiet as firms clamp down on costs, with job solicitations going out to new associates slowing down. Work at the firm has also slowed down, with one associate reporting feeling “paranoid” because the work has dropped off. 

Another associate who spoke to Krishan Nair for agreed, saying “Quiet work activity does feed into overthinking and paranoia. When you’re working, you’re engrossed in the work. Last time it was quiet—I asked, ‘why the quiet?’. You do think about what’s going to happen in an environment where you’re judged by your hours and targets. If I’m not working, I’m not hitting my targets, so what’s going to happen? It’s easy to get drawn into a sense of paranoia.”

A few tips to alleviate the fear and paranoia includes:

Good partners: Work with good partners in a good team. They’ll keep you informed on what’s happening, and if you have a good line of communication with them, you can ask them for more information if you hear there are going to be job losses.

Be prepared for job loss: Associates change firms a lot, so work on being proactive and marketable to a future employer.

Are you interested in learning more about managing the job market as an associate? Read more in this article.

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