Of all the different Biglaw constituencies, legal secretaries have probably suffered the most in terms of recent layoffs. In this technological age, lawyers do their own typing, don’t give dictation as much, and can use voice-recognition software when they do. Shorthand isn’t as valuable a skill as it used to be.
So what should a legal secretary facing a voluntary buyout or an involuntary layoff do with himself? Assuming he’s not ready to take the money and run (or retire), he should find new employment. And that might require obtaining new skills, ones that are in greater demand in 2013.
Some might tell a displaced legal secretary, “I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Technology.” If technology taketh away jobs, it can also giveth, right?
Well, not so fast. Even techie types are getting laid off, as the latest layoff news demonstrates….
When it comes to industry accolades, Paul Hastings is on a roll right now. It was named the best law firm to work for by Vault, took second place on the American Lawyer’s A-List, and won recognition for its promotion of women to leadership roles.
The good tidings come on the attorney side; on the staff side, the news is less happy. After receiving reports last night of staff reductions in the “Helpdesk” or IT department at Paul Hastings, we reached out to the firm, which issued this statement to us:
On Tuesday, October 1 Paul Hastings LLP eliminated approximately 15 positions in the firm’s internally operated Support Center based in the Los Angeles office. These Support Analyst positions have been transitioned to Keno Kozie in Chicago, Illinois, a company which specializes in IT design, service and support for hundreds of law firms.
This action is one of many that Paul Hastings has been taking over the past five years as it identifies opportunities for efficiency in its operations and focuses upon its core competency of providing high-value legal counsel to the world’s leading corporations and financial service institutions.
Affected individuals are being offered a severance package that is consistent with legal industry norms.
It looks like outsourcing has struck again. At least it’s domestic or “onshore” outsourcing, which keeps the jobs here in the U.S.
Having extensive knowledge of information technology isn’t a cloak of magic resistance to layoffs. See, e.g., the Angry IT Guy at Cleary Gottlieb.
We’ll continue to track the layoff news at major law firms. If you have information to share, please email us or text us (646-820-8477). We hope not to hear from you, but we fear that the layoff train has more stops left to make.