Layoffs can hurt

I was asked the other day whether I’ve seen an increase in lawsuits against law firms for the layoffs, firings and terminations … or for postponing start dates for recent graduates that were "hired."  What has been your experience?

Such lawsuits may not yet have surfaced; it takes awhile for the public to be aware of such litigation … and statistics are hard to come by.  I haven’t seen any evidence of increased litigation. There seems to be enough problems for all concerned without adding the specter of litigation.

Law firms who

1.  act in what is perceived to be a fair fashion,

2.  who have appropriate selection criteria that are not discriminatory, and

3.  who help those "terminated" to find other positions or at least help them adjust to new circumstances (e.g., fair severance packages) …

… are likely to escape further scrutiny and litigation.  Also, since another lawyer is likely to be needed to file suit, the foregoing efforts by the law firm will significantly reduce potential damages and discourage contingency lawyers … and the fired person usually can’t afford a lawyer paid by the hour. 

Thus, despite massive layoffs in recent months, I would not expect a significant rise in lawsuits against law firms … though watch out for the law firm who fails to address these issues and is callous when laying off its lawyers or staff.


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