At Gilbert + Tobin there have "been no retrenchments", while at Mallesons Stephen Jaques the mood "seems pretty upbeat". So read the market insights from anonymous sources tapped up on the Justinian site, giving us uncommon insight into the experiences of lawyers across Australia in this economic downturn.
"Complete and total incompetence by some retrenched top-tier solicitors," one reader writes on 11 March on Richard Ackland's site Justinian. "It was 4.30 in the afternoon and I was summoned to a meeting with HR... I was told by the junior HR girl that I was being 'made redundant'... The worst part about this experience has been the silent akwardness (sic) when people ask me what I do for a living.
"Do I pretend that I still have a job at a top-tier law firm as a respected corporate lawyer, at the same firm that savagly cut me from its books after I slaved away billing long hours week nights and weekends, or do I casually mention that I was retrenched?," the person writes. One labels the way the Allens Arthur Robinson partnership is handling things as with their "usual ineptitude".
"In the Sydney office, there have been no wide scale sackings yet, but a few people from the M&A banking groups have been retrenched," the person writes.
"The mood at Mallesons seems pretty upbeat," writes one reader. "One of the partners told me the other day (after a few drinks) that the firm would not be retrenching or cutting back on grad recruitment but would simply allow itself to lose staff through the usual attrition rate. He also said that lawyers 4 to 5 years out are the most vulnerable group.
"Meanwhile, several of the dozen or so summer clerks at Corrs didn't get offers (apparently) and everyone I know from there is very edgy. Freehills also didn't make offers to many of their summer clerks," writes another anonymous whistleblower.
And this later post adds fuel to the fire, while slating the accusations about Freehills:
"Posted by: Anonymous
Date: March 26, 2009, 12:53 am
To the Mallesons person who decided to have a free shot at Freehills. Congratulations. Freehills employed 58 summer clerks in Sydney for 08/09 - which was more than any other firm. 56 of the summer clerks received written offers of permanent employment last month. Maybe someone from your firm can opine on how that equates to 'Freehills also didn't make offers to many of their summer clerks.' You are excused given your post was 'after a few drinks'."