published December 23, 2021

By Maria Laus, Author - LawCrossing

The Legal Industry During the Pandemic and Stealth Layoffs

However, other reports state that larger law firms have to make changes and are not good. In fact, there are big concerns that the economy will not look good over the next few years, which is worrying for the legal industry. Is another massive recession in the cards?

One of the first signs of bad things to come is the stealth layoffs of a lawyer. This is something that large firms are currently making the lawyer headcount, and a rumor on the grapevine is that big names are now following this process. Namely, they use the excuse of performance issues while trying to clear the decks with as little attention as possible.

Unfortunately, we do not know for sure that this is true. These are all rumors, and it is hard to predict what is going to happen in 2021. But let’s take a closer look at what stealth layoffs in Bloomberg law are and things you should know that can affect law firms.

What is a Stealth Layoff?

You probably want to know exactly what we mean by a stealth layoff. Essentially, this is when a law firm wants to eliminate some of its employees. Still, they do not wish to fire them traditionally directly. There can be several reasons why a law firm wants a stealth layoff policy. For example, this can happen during times of financial hardship. They want to quietly get rid of some of their employees when the law firm is struggling. In addition, it can be a way of protecting their reputation since they do not want to gain attention for letting employees go. Therefore, a stealth layoff will tell an employee they will lose their job in the next few months, but there are other options to research other legal jobs thru Bloomberg law an online-based subscription to look for other new jobs.

The Rumors on Stealth Layoffs

At this point, everything we are saying is speculation. But we have heard a lot of rumors when it comes to top global law firms. Namely, they are trying to lay off a lot of their U.S. attorneys discretely. This is thought to be because they were unable to secure a merger partner in recent years. This is interesting to note, as not long ago, they were planning to expand and grow in the U.S.

Unfortunately, the quiet layoffs do not end there. There are also rumors that the law firms have been adjusting the salaries of those associates still on the payroll. In other words, they have to take pay cuts, which do not reflect their seniority and experience.

But it is important to remember that these are rumors we have heard. They are not set in stone, and we cannot definitely say that this is the law firm’s policy. It may just be isolated incidents that have happened to a few employees, which has an economic impact. However, the concern is that if this top law firms are making these decisions, will other law firms have to follow suit?

The Advantages of a Stealth Layoff

While there does not sound like there are many benefits of a stealth layoff, there actually can be for associates. In fact, it can be much better than getting fired in some cases. With a stealth layoff, you will often be told well in advance that you are no longer going to be employed at law firms. In other words, legal professionals will tell you months ahead of when your termination date will be. This allows you the opportunity to take a look at different jobs and search for a new one. So, you can attend job interviews, and they will not know that you will be losing your current position in a few months. If you are successful with that interview, you will avoid being fired and losing your job.

Therefore, stealth layoffs can benefit a law firm’s reputation, and they can also be suitable for a legal associate or managing director. The supreme court will not have a blemish on their record that looks like they have done something wrong. There will be no negative consequences or questions to answer in the future if they can find a new job in the time they have. So, it is not all doom and gloom with stealth layoffs. Both parties can benefit from this practice if all goes wells.

The Disadvantages of a Stealth Layoff

Of course, there are also some disadvantages to a stealth layoff, and they have to be considered. In particular, the problem arises when an associate does not see this move coming. They can be enjoying their career, and this can suddenly happen during this pandemic. This can be demoralizing and cause a lot of stress. In particular, if they cannot find a job within a couple of months to termination, this can mean that their record will show this stealth layoff as a firing. 

What’s more, when there is an ordinary termination, associates can access financial benefits from the situation. In other words, there can be a severance package available to them that can provide them with some financial support when they lose their job. This can help them in the process of finding another position. However, the bad news about a stealth layoff is that employees will not have access to a severance package. Legal associates can be left in a bad spot financially in this pandemic time.

Let’s not forget that a stealth layoff can be embarrassing for a legal associate. In the next few months, they will be walking around the office and know they will lose their job. If this has not happened to their colleagues, it can be shameful, and you can feel like you are worthless. There can be a sense of limbo, and many people will doubt their legal career and the future.

During an interview in a national law journal, there is also the possibility that they are aware of the stealth layoff. This can reflect negatively on you and your legal career. There will be speculation why you were chosen for the layoff, which can affect your chance of landing a new job by performance management process with law firms during this coronavirus pandemic by the legal professionals.

Ways to Deal with a Stealth Layoff

If you are going through stealth layoffs, you must realize that it is not the end of the world.

While it might not have been the result you wanted, there are many ways you can deal with it and come out the other side. Here are some ways to deal with a stealth layoff.

It Does Not Have to End Your Career in Law Firms

As we have mentioned, a stealth layoff does not have to end your career. When you do not see something like this coming, it is easy to feel down and like you have failed. But this is not how you have to view the situation. Try to view this stealth layoff as a transition. You can do summer associate programs. It is a way to start a new beginning with the help of Bloomberg law for legal research. It is something that did not work out, but you can learn from the situation.

Work Hard During Limbo

When you are stuck in limbo between a stealth layoff and finding a new job, it is easy to feel lost. You can second guess everything you have been doing and feel like you are failing. It is best to make the most of this time to build for your future. Put all of your effort and energy into building your career and moving forward. Do not let this period affect you.

Think About Your Next Move

It is easy to think about a stealth layoff as a negative experience. But it is an excellent opportunity to think about your career and what you want to do next. Perhaps, on reflection, that job was not right for you. This is your chance to change career paths and try something new. Think about what you want from your next situation.

A Time for Growing

You are always going to be faced with challenges in your life. This stealth layoff is a time for growing and learning from a new experience. You can self-reflect and try to think about what you have learned from this. Were there things you could do differently?

Was it actually a blessing in disguise? Think of this time as a time to grow.

Again, this does not have to be the end of the world or the end of your legal career in a law firm.

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