Seniority Sucks at BigLaw Firm

By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 22, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

At one BigLaw firm, there was good year-end news and bad new-year news.

The good news: some associates got extra year-end bonuses. The bad news: others got six months to find a new job.

It's the same old, same old in business -- especially in the up-and-down law business. But in this case, the senior associates are feeling it more than others.

Not "Partner" Material

According to reports, Cahill Gordon is telling 85 percent of a class of senior associates that it's time to go. The firm is not calling it layoffs for now, just a six-month opportunity to find new jobs.

Above the Law broke the story, saying "multiple sources" leaked the news. The associates said they were told they "weren't partner or counsel material."

It's triple hearsay by now, but that only counts in litigation. In the court of public opinion, this news sucks.

"The reactions from the associates we've heard from have been unanimous in their shock/anger over this personnel decision and are riffs on the theme that the firm seems more interested in saving money than holding attorneys to an arbitrary standard of excellence," they said.

Cahill Gordon and Who?

Whatever you call the personnel decision, those senior litigators are not happy to be there now. It will be six months of a tense send-off, and there will be no retirement parties.

This isn't the first time and probably won't be the last. Cahill Gordon shed about 20 percent of its associates ten years ago.

It's another step-back for the firm, which got good press in recent years for offering extra bonuses. In 2018, the firm offered up to $40,000 in a special bonus schedule.

But that's old news now.

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