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.
When you talk to a prospective lateral about your firm during their first meeting, the conversation can go deep, sideways, and in circles. There is so much to share and discuss. What path of a dialogue can you follow to get better odds of a favorable conclusion?
Consider this template as a model you can use to discuss your firm’s opportunity. This simplifies the conversation and gives you a mental framework so the discussion is meaningful, relevant and moves things forward.
The Four P’s
In my transition from retained corporate executive search to legal search, I saw that there were many levels of complexity in the move of a partner transitioning from firm A to firm B. In placing an executive in a corporation, it was simple because of the linear nature of relationships in corporations. In a law firm, because of the multi-layered aspect of the interdependent relationships that each partner must manage with others, the dialogue is much more involved.
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@example.com.
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