We are once again facing a potential rash of layoffs from law firms. Litigation is down just about everywhere and firms are starting to let those lined up at the equity partner door know that it's only open a crack. When the initial shock is absorbed, these well-trained, talented lawyers will be on the prowl for new opportunities and will most likely find something somewhere. For those without a book of business, the search for a new big firm opportunity might be tougher. Coupled with the slide in litigation, clients have deliberate mandates from their boards and C-team to cut costs. This may also cause a few more folks to be pushed out the door. There is one big checklist item firms are forgetting as they decide who is in and who is out: their clients.
Clients view their outside counsel's team as part of their own. A well-known Silicon Valley GC and member of the patent bar stated it this way: “The patent bar is a tight network. I heard about a young lawyer who worked with us for quite a while who was asked to leave one firm and then joined a large global firm well ahead of when he called to tell me about it.”