Back in November, Goodwin Procter laid off 55 people: 21 of them associate attorneys. You’ll remember that the laid-off employees took the news particularly hard. In February of 2009 — in the teeth of the recession — Goodwin Procter laid off 74 people: 38 of those victims were associates.
But enough about sad old 2009, let’s get to sunny 2010. Things are looking up for Goodwin, and the firm is looking to add people again. There’s just one catch. A tipster reports:
Goodwin has hired recruiters to headhunt attorneys to fill the positions of the 2nd and 3rd year associates laid off last February and as recently as November. Rumor has it that they have formed an entire committee to handle the search even though several of the February layoff victims remain unemployed and almost all of the November attorneys.
Where’s the love, Goodwin? From the job posting, it looks like your recently laid off associates could be exactly what you are looking for…
Check out the job posting a recruiter is running for GP. Doesn’t it look like something laid-off former Goodwin associates would be qualified for?
The Boston, MA, office of this international firm is seeking an associate with 2-3 years of experience with the following: private equity, corporate transactions, including drafting venture capital, merger and other transaction documents; familiarity with SEC reporting rules, private placement rules and offering requirements; experience conducting corporate due diligence, with at least one year of experience with sophisticated corporate transactional matters for public and private clients; the Securities Act of 1933; the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934; Investment Advisers Act of 1940; and related SEC regulations.
Goodwin Procter declined to comment on the ad. But after we asked the firm why it was looking for lateral help instead of calling up their old people who haven’t landed on their feet, the job listing was removed by the recruiter.
But by then, the cat was already out of the bag. Laid-off associates don’t have much to do other than check job listings, and occasionally email Above the Law:
Heard you were working on the GP job story. Just wanted to say that I was told they were looking for somebody more experienced, even though I had enough experience according to the listing. By now I’m used to getting blacklisted by other firms, but to get blacklisted by my old one really hurts.
That tipster wasn’t alone:
When questioned directly by one of the former associates, the response is “We’re looking for someone more senior” which is in direct conflict with the information provided by the recruiters/original job listing.
It is hard out there for laid-off associates trying to break back into Biglaw. And if firms like Goodwin don’t even want their own people back, there’s little hope that other law firms will be willing to take a chance on them.
But, if there is a silver lining, the GP listing is another indication that the lateral market is starting to heat up. Associates who survived the layoffs but had to take whatever indignity management decided to dole out are starting to have credible lateral options. Competition for the best associates should raise the standard for all, right? So while those fired during the Great Recession might truly be a “lost generation” of associates, the signs are starting to point towards a brighter future for those with jobs and the new kids in the pipeline.
Okay, maybe that’s more of a cubic zirconium lining, but it’s something.