Thursday, January 08, 2009


Valid objection to the reduced hours in lieu of layoffs proposal?

We said we would discuss a possibly valid objection to PAR's suggestion that law firms consider reducing associates' hours in lieu of layoffs, so in the interest of robust debate, here goes.

The slowed economy is giving law firms a reason to make cuts in the associate ranks that they should have already made, regardless of their financial position. For whatever reason -- the need for warm bodies to do work or aversion to terminations -- firms have continued the employment of associates whom they knew did not have a future with the them. To the extent cuts should have happened anyway, we agree that reducing hours is not a good alternative to layoffs.

Now that we've looked at the pros and cons, we'd like to hear back from you. Is your firm using reduced hours as an alternative to layoffs? If you're in law firm management, is it something you're considering? If you're an associate, would you be willing to reduce your hours and compensation in exchange for continued employment? You can comment here on the blog, or comment privately through our website.


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