The final decision to fire law firm personnel is usually made during a partnership meeting. In conjunction with the decision to terminate, partners also agree to keep the news confidential until the luckless associate is informed personally. However, partners inevitably neglect to take the obvious companion steps of choosing someone to break the news to the associate and assuring he or she is informed immediately.
After the fateful partnership meeting, individual partners unable to keep a secret proceed to tell their secretaries and other associates about the decision to terminate. At this point, the law firm grapevine and rumor mill take over and run their course until, eventually, everyone at the firm knows of the news. Everyone, that is, except the soon-to-be terminated attorney.
Associates insecure about their future at the firm (i.e., every associate) should know that everyone else in the office will know of your firing before you do. You are therefore well advised to look for indicators in the behavior of colleagues that can tip you off that your career at the firm is over.
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