Law Firms Start Rescinding Offers – So Goes The Audit Firms?

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There’s been a significant uptick in calls and letters over the last few days from various students and Big 4 professionals seeking advice regarding current and impending layoffs.  They are always surprised when I answer their emails immediately and offer whatever support I can, even if it’s just sympathy and empathy for their situation.

In the last week, I  have spoken to an MST with six months of experience who is bored with basic tax compliance and wants to know how soon she can ask to move to a specialty practice, an experienced- hire H1B who is being let go due to “economic” issues after less than a year on the job, an experienced hire who wants to understand the politics of requesting relocation when a promotion hangs in the balance, a young woman in the Far East who wonders if she should wait for an interview with her preferred firm or accept the offer from the the one that’s pushing her for a decision, and several emails asking what your first move should be if you’re told that you are being “let go”…

I am not a recruiter and I am not a career coach.  That is, my firm does not generally provide these services for a fee.  However, I do know lots of recruiters in the audit, finance and technology specialties all over the country and I believe in the principle of karma.  I am always willing to lend my advice and support to those facing career challenges.  
My ulterior motive, if it can be called that, is to gain additional insight into what’s going on at the firms, directly, from the professionals.  I do not publish or otherwise publicize this information unless you give permission.  I do not send out your resume without your permission.  However,  I am glad to do both if it makes sense. I also want to add professionals to my Linked In Contacts if they have relevant experience and synergy with my current contacts.
So keep the cards and letter coming. As with my encouragement of  the discussion of blogs in the classroom, there is no charge…

Law Firms Curtail Associate Programs As Economy Slows

For associates at law firms, how quickly things have changed.

This time last year, salaried lawyers at many of nation’s largest firms had just scored a pay bump, as business was blazing and firms were scrambling to keep talent. Now, due largely to a slowdown in work relating to mortgages, real estate, mergers and private equity, some firms are taking such measures as rescinding offers to incoming associates and summer associates, asking first-year lawyers to start several months later and shortening their summer programs to save money.

New York-based Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, which employs more than 800 lawyers, recently shrunk the duration of its summer-associate program, which in some offices had been 12 weeks, to 10. And rather than have all incoming first-year lawyers start in September, the firm is staggering start dates over several months. Chicago-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, a 700-lawyer firm, last month rescinded employment offers for two summer associates and two first-year associates in its Charlotte, N.C., office.

Associates are key revenue generators for law firms. Firms generally charge clients an hourly rate for associates’ work, and the more work firms can assign to associates, the more they can earn. But associates are expensive as well, especially now, after firms jumped to match each other’s raises for them when times were good…

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