Today, just as we roll into the weekend, we’ve got even more layoff news. One of the biggest law firms in Connecticut, one that last conducted layoffs at the start of the recession, is handing out walking papers to as many as 40 of its attorneys and staff members. Which firm, and why?
Hey Biglaw partners, if you’re switching products to please your client, you may be wasting your time. Last week, we reported that Day Pitney is getting rid of all the free Cokes in its office in favor of client Pepsi-Co’s products.
This was disappointing news around the firm, since according to our survey, 78% of lawyers prefer Coke to Pepsi.
As we recounted anecdotally in that post, Day Pitney is not alone. Many firms have been known to switch products to please clients. One former Biglaw type who is now in-house says, though, that product loyalty is inconsequential.
For the record, I am now in house with a very large company and I have absolutely NO expectation whatsoever that any of our firms will require their staff and attorneys to use our products, and only our products. In fact, I would see a move like the one taken by Day Pitney as nothing but full, balls-to-the-wall pandering. Forget what soda you stock at meetings. How about you do good work and stop overbilling me? THAT’S what matters. Idiots.
Is this in-house lawyer’s analysis flat?
UPDATE: Others say Pepsi will can those who don’t drink their kool-aid, er, their Sierra Mist…
What would your firm do to land, or generate more business from, an important client? Would you… switch sodas?
Over at Day Pitney, they’re taking the Pepsi challenge. Here’s an email recently sent around the firm by partner Ernest Mattei (Pepsi logo in the original):
Pepsico, Inc. is a firm client. We want to expand our relationship and increase the amount of business we receive from Pepsi. Currently we have matters for Pepsi that are being handled in several of our offices. We have had meetings in those offices with Pepsi attorneys and representatives.
We want Pepsi to know that they are important to us and that we are serious about representing them and developing our relationship. One obvious way to do this is to use their products. For that reason, the Executive Committee has approved offering Pepsi and Diet Pepsi at meetings when beverages and snacks are provided in our Connecticut and Boston offices. Coke will still be available in our vending machines.
We plan on informing Pepsi of the firm’s decision. Thank you for your anticipated support of this decision.
How is this news being received at Day Pitney? Caffeine-addicted lawyers can be very sensitive when it comes to their soda. Remember the near-mutiny at Foley & Lardner, after the firm decided to slash its soda subsidy?
And will Pepsi even notice that Day Pitney has switched?
UPDATE: A reader poll on Coke v. Pepsi, added after the jump.
Incrementally, the pace of layoffs has been picking up. Perhaps firms are trying to get through all of their cuts before the holiday season?
The latest news comes from Day Pitney. A tipster reports:
Day Pitney in CT laid off 30 staff today and moved staff to lower positions.
A spokesperson from Day Pitney confirmed that the firm laid of 29 staff (not 30). The move was part of a staff reorganization and affected staffers in eight of the firm’s nine offices.
No attorneys were laid off.
Let’s check Day Pitney’s layoff history after the jump.
You really have to take a step back and think about what summer associate programs used to be in order to appreciate what they are becoming. It is hard to imagine that a recruitment model that firms used for years is suddenly so “outmoded” that some firms are doing away with it entirely. Day Pitney isn’t canceling its summer program, but the firm is making significant changes. The firm issued a statement about its new summer mission:
Day Pitney announced today that beginning in May 2010 the firm will alter its traditional summer associate program to focus on apprenticeships.
The summer apprenticeship program will be an eight-week course designed to prepare law students for the practice of law through practical, day-to-day applications and on-the-job training. Apprentices will learn by shadowing Day Pitney lawyers and working with firm professionals in one-on-one coaching scenarios. They will also collaborate with lawyer teams handling ongoing client matters. The practice-based learning approach will be supplemented with focused training workshops and diversity and community service activities designed to teach law students about the firm’s culture and key core values.
Why does the firm have to change the program to have “on-the-job training”? What does “day-to-day applications” even mean? What was wrong with the old way?
Actually, don’t answer that. We all know what was wrong with the old way. Let’s embrace the new way of doing things after the jump.
Back in February, Day Pitney laid off a number of staff. Today, the bad news has trickled up into the associate ranks. The firm wide memo just went out:
Earlier today, we met with 20 associates and counsel to notify them that their positions are being eliminated. The reductions are spread throughout our offices and practice areas. We deeply regret the need to take these steps. All of the people whose jobs have been eliminated are highly skilled professionals who have made significant contributions to the Firm. Each person has been offered a severance package that includes outplacement services.
Does anybody know when the Day Pitney summers are starting?
At least the displaced Day Pitney associates will get to enjoy their summer without having to worry about working inside all day. Fresh air, clean living, and maybe some camping? They can get a head start on learning the post-apocalyptic survival skills that will be key come the fall.
Read the full memo after the jump. Good luck to those who lost their jobs today.
Dreams of a pleasant morning coding documents and browsing eHarmony turned into a nightmare for 66 assistants and paralegals at Day Pitney. Jim Sicilian, co-chair of the Executive Committee, told ATL via phone that 66 staff members were laid off across all firm offices. According to Jim, no associate layoffs are planned for the moment.
The news comes as somewhat of a relief because it initially appeared that the firm was mounting a black ops assault:
An assistant and paralegal in the hall near me were called down to a conference room and immediately let go. One was working on an assignment for me and left in the middle of it — never to return.
Or a government sting:
Head of HR is camped out in conference room and calling for people to come down. When they go back to their office, their computers are locked out, and they can’t even access to close out a document or grab personal files. Now, the office is paralyzed waiting for the phone to ring.
Town meetings are in store for attorneys and staff later today or tomorrow. It appears that some members of staff will be unable to attend.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…