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Telltale Signs Your Law Firm Is Going to Fire You

published November 10, 2016

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left

( 448 votes, average: 5 out of 5)

What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
At least once or twice during their careers, most law firm personnel are told by the firm that their prospects for advancement to partnership might be more favorable at another place of employment. In any profession and at any workplace, firing employees is always difficult and never pleasant. However, law firms are especially poor in performing this task.
Telltale Signs Your Law Firm Is Going to Fire You

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.
Listed below are some of the telltale signs that it's time to pack your files, call a headhunter and file that wrongful termination claim against the firm because the pink slip is in the inner office mail:
  • Partners who once greeted you warmly suddenly refuse to acknowledge your existence.
  • Partners who have never previously acknowledged your existence now greet you warmly.
  • You have just purchased a car or home that you can't afford.
  • Paralegals and junior associates stop laughing at your jokes and no longer pretend to like you.
  • The guys from the mail room snicker whenever they see you.
  • Your secretary ignores you more than usual and seems really, really happy.
  • A member of the cleaning crew offers to help you get an interview with one of the other law firms in the building.
  • You catch other associates hanging their diplomas on your office wall.
  • The FedEx delivery person asks what you are still doing at the office.

One or more of these red flags should be enough to put you on notice that the party is over. LawCrossing does recommend, however, that associates wait for actual confirmation before packing your files and filing a lawsuit. You might just be paranoid (as you well should be) and imagining these things. Other people in the office might also be playing a cruel trick on you. After you have been officially notified, you can proceed to take another job and start worrying about being laid off from your new firm.

See the Top 32 Reasons Attorneys Lose Their Jobs Inside of Law Firms to learn some of the most common reasons attorneys are fired or let go from law firms.

See the following article for more information:

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit