Today, we’ll talk about what attorneys are actually doing to protect themselves against, or cope with, a layoff.
Surprisingly, about 40% of respondents said that they weren’t doing a thing. A few commenters provided more detail on their non-coping strategies:
crossing my fingers for three months’ severance
Smoking weed; watching movies; working out; learning to play guitar
Glad to see that Marin and Elie’s advice column is having an impact.
More details on how attorneys are responding to the slowdown, after the jump.
Although 40% of attorneys said they weren’t doing anything to respond to imminent — or actual — layoffs, most said they were doing something:
Updating my resume
Updating the resume.
I have updated my resume.
gettin resume and deal list together, deep breathing, envisioning being calm and cool when they drop the hammer
Applying like a mad woman to every job listed on every internet law jobs site.
In all, 25% of respondents said they were talking to headhunters about switching firms or going in-house, and 23% were talking to friends at other firms, or, as commenters put it:
Networking like crazy
networking through bar association meetings
Networking with partners at other firms
While many attorneys are busy networking with headhunters and contacts at other firms, others are networking internally:
Working for more partners
Staying busy and developing relationships with partners
working hard and sucking up
Keeping visible and kissing ass.
Kissing even more ass
Shamelessly begging for work
I’m begging for work from anyone I can think of.
About 8% of respondents said they were trying to transfer to busier practices within their firm, while another 2% were trying to move to a busier office.
Others are trying to market themselves by . . . marketing:
I am marketing my butt off.
helping partners draft CLE materials
I’m helping partners with business development
I am showing my marketing prowess and am offering to do things outside of working hours (volunteer, etc.)
I’m going out and trying to find business for the firm.
Bringing in clients!
Developing my own clients
In fact, almost 16% of respondents said that they were writing client bulletins or articles.
Meanwhile, those who actually do have work are doing what they can to keep it flowing their way:
I’m working harder.
I’m busting my ass.
Busting my ass on my existing work.
I’m doing endless doc reviews that haven’t been contracted out to keep my hours up.
Or at least to keep it from flowing anywhere else:
I’m hording work
I am hoarding work
hording more work to keep my hours up
In addition to client billable hours, 21% of respondents said they were taking on pro bono work to keep busy.
Many attorneys commented that they were leaving Big Law for greener, or at least smaller, pastures:
I was already laid off by a big firm and am happily working at a smaller firm now
left big law for boutique practice
Expanding my practice area and preparing to go solo. I’m getting too old for this.
Planning on going solo, if axed.
Preparing for a solo practice.
I started a solo practice
Unfortunately, smaller isn’t better for everybody:
Found a new job making half
applying for doc review jobs and renting rooms in my house
Selling my body
Several respondents said they were taking steps to reboot their legal careers. Roughly 5% of respondents said they were preparing to take another state’s bar exam, and a few wrote in that they would be taking the patent bar. About 3% of respondents said they were applying for judicial clerkships, and another 2% were seeking opportunities with non-profits to avoid a resume gap.
Many attorneys were looking for legal opportunities outside of the law firm ecosystem:
Actively pursuing in-house opportunities with clients and non-clients
Applying to positions in more secure organizations (multinationals)
I am looking at opportunities outside of the Firm context that may be more stable, like working for the federal government.
Looking at Government
The government is hiring.
Applying for Government Jobs
applying like crazy for government jobs
Going government for a few years
Keeping an eye on government jobs and possiblity of getting a MLS.
not depending on my firm offer but looking at govt jobs
I’m considering the JAG corps
Working for the feds
I’m looking to move to a job in a Congressional office
public sector applications
Attorneys are also fleeing to academia. While a handful of respondents are pursuing an LLM in tax to become more employable as attorneys, others are studying ways to escape the practice of law altogether:
Leaving for academia
Applying for MBA programs
I’m finishing up my MBA
Applying to grad school (masters in sport administration).
uh med school?
I’m reading h.s. history books in order to be qualified to teach.
wondering why the f*** i went to law school
That last sentiment has become painfully common, and many respondents said they were acting on it:
I’m considering switching careers entirely.
Looking for another career
looking into other careers
preparing career switch
Exploring non-law jobs
Researching and pursuing networking opportunities in the field in which I really want to practice.
I’m trying to figure out how to leave law altogether
Quitting the law… I hate it in any case, and this is a great excuse for a career change.
I’ve gotten a non-law practice job.
moving to non-legal job
started a business
moving to 3rd world country
Selling my body
But no matter what steps respondents have been taking to find work or keep it, one strategy is pretty universal:
I’m saving money so I have a safety net
Spending less, saving money in case of emergency
I’m moving into a cheaper apartment.
saving all my cash
I have horded money and am travelling until this all blows over
Saving money so I can travel for a year and do odd jobs on the beach in some remote location
I’m stockpiling cash.
I’m buying gold and weapons.
No wonder Amazon is running out of ramen noodles.