Biglaw, Job Searches, Layoffs

Bad News for Laid Off Associates: Your Résumés Are Not Welcome

Blackballed Blacklist laid off attorneys.JPGWe know it’s difficult for laid-off attorneys to find new Biglaw jobs. Very few firms are hiring — and many of the firms that are hiring do not want to look at résumés from associates that have been previously laid off.
RollOnFriday has the news from London:

RollOnFriday can reveal that there is blatant and widespread discrimination throughout the City against lawyers who have been made redundant.

Last week’s report that a recruitment consultant wouldn’t consider redundant lawyers who for a job seems to be the tip of the iceberg. Readers deluged RollOnFriday Towers with complaints about both rec cons and law firms. All had the same experience: their attempts to apply for a job had been stymied when they revealed they’d been made redundant. The firms who came in for the most criticism were American, with several big names being accused of discrimination.

Legal Blog Watch asks if the same phenomenon is happening here in the states. Recruiters we have spoken with say that it is.
Reports from recruiters and tipsters in the U.S., after the jump.

Over a year ago, we raised the possibility that lawyers caught in Cadwalader’s early layoffs could be facing some discrimination. But now we could be looking at an industry-wide issue.
One recruiter we spoke with told us that as many as 80 percent of the employers they work with specifically requested résumés from attorneys who are still employed. Laid-off attorneys need not apply. “[T]hey don’t want any résumés from the Latham 190,” this recruiter said.
This isn’t an issue just for former Latham attorneys. Some firms are willing to consider attorneys from firms that have announced layoffs due to economic reasons, but they refuse to look at résumés from firms that have conducted “stealth” layoffs. The theory is that even if the economy played a role in the decision to let people go, firms “don’t want to hire somebody else’s problem.”
News of this kind of treatment of laid-off attorneys doesn’t just come from recruiters. A tipster who used to work at Kirkland & Ellis reports that potential employers have gone so far as to ask for a statement from K&E indicating that the layoff was economic. As you know, Kirkland has conducted stealth layoffs, but the firm won’t go on the record about its cuts. If the point of stealth layoffs is to make it as hard as possible for former employees to get new jobs, the strategy appears to be working.
Are people who got laid off during the recession getting blackballed out of Biglaw? Above the Law hasn’t spoken with a firm that admits on the record to ignoring résumés from laid-off attorneys. But the proof is in the outcomes. Are you former Biglaw types feeling discriminated against in your job search?
RollOnFriday reveals widespread discrimination against redundant lawyers [RollOnFriday]
‘Redundant’ Lawyers Need Not Apply [Legal Blog Watch]
Earlier: No Cadwalader Lawyers Need Apply?
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Kirkland & Ellis Chicago
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Latham Cuts 440 (190 Associates, 250 Staff)

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