This is a tough week to be employed by Howrey, a law firm with multiple offices in North America and Europe, and a focus in three highly specialized areas: antitrust, global litigation, and intellectual property. LawCareers.Net is reporting that in the wake of the company’s decision to dissolve, over 700 associates, secretaries, paralegals and support staff will be receiving WARN notices via overnight mail, including 480 employees in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC offices.
If you’re not familiar with The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, the U.S. Department of Labor provides a Fact Sheet and Guide to Advance Notice of Closings and Layoffs at http://www.doleta.gov/programs/factsht/warn.htm. The Act offers protection to workers employed at companies that have 100 or more employees, by requiring employers to provide 60 days advance notice of mass layoffs.
According to LawCareers.Net, the employees are combining their efforts to weather the pending job losses:
According to one current staff member, Howrey’s remaining employees are working together to help each other find new jobs. An online job board listing openings and other potential opportunities nationwide and in Washington has been set up. One employee said: “It has been extremely gratifying. Everyone is contacting their sources to try and get people placed and it’s beginning to work.”
It is unknown how long Howrey will be able to pay salaries; when and if the firm decides to file bankruptcy will be a key factor in the length of time employees can count on receiving paychecks. A representative for the firm says that it is working to help its employees find new jobs, with “hundreds” having already secured employment.
I have the deepest sympathy for anyone who finds themselves in the position of losing what seemed to be a secure job with a viable company, with or without advance notice. I wish anyone affected by this latest round of layoffs in the legal sector the best of success in finding comparable employment elsewhere.
If you think you’ve had a rough week but are still gainfully employed (as far as you know), take a minute to give thanks for your job. It’s been a terrible news week, including the increasingly dire situation in Japan. It’s a good time to focus on the positive aspects of our lives and count our blessings.