Do I Need to Reveal That I Was Let Go to My Recruiter or Potential Employers?

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Julie Lehrman
Question:

I was recently let go, but my firm will keep my biography on their website for three months. Do I need to reveal this to my recruiter or to potential employers?




Answer:

Almost certainly. Firms let associates go for many reasons, and come to all kinds of agreements regarding separation. You might think that being let go reflects poorly on you, and this may indeed be the case, depending upon the circumstances. But keep this in mind: all towns are small towns, and legal communities are even smaller. At some point, even in big cities, a partner from your potential employer firm will pick up at the phone and call her friend at your current firm. All of these people know each other. Chances are, if you are not honest, your dishonestly will be discovered. And if you are discovered, it will reflect far more poorly on you than your dismissal.

If you are lucky enough to be working with a legal recruiter, you are at an advantage. Recruiters do a fair amount of spinning in our job, and we can help you present your dismissal in the best possible light. It is also important to tell your recruiter that you are now on a timeline, so that she can prioritize and expedite your job search. A recruiter can help you to avoid pitfalls that are often encountered with dismissed associates, like who not to use as a reference, who to use, how to show a negative review in a less negative light, and how to explain an economic layoff without sounding bitter towards the firm that laid you off.

If you are not working with a recruiter, you should still come clean. Arm yourself with all the excellent references you can from partners who did enjoy working with you. Also, get excellent references from prior employers, to show that this is not a pattern in each job you have held. Above all, try not to sound like you got a raw deal from the firm that let you go. As long as you are telling the story, you have more control over how it is told, so you should be the one to tell it.



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Working With A Legal Recruiters      Dismissed Associates      Let Go      Legal Career Q & A     

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