The entire white collar firm world of lawyers is referring to last week’s 1000-plus job cuts as ‘Black Thursday.’ Maybe I am supposed to feel sorry for them, but I think like most of my friends in the Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, I don’t.
Most of us are sole practitioners or have one or two partners. We have no cushioned perks or luxurious conference rooms with extensive staffs. Our offices do not resemble the board rooms of Boston Legal.
We wake up on Monday morning not knowing how much money we will have on Friday morning. We do not know if our phone will ring, a case will come in, or that a client will have a retainer. We will surely get calls from a half dozen people with no money shopping around with legitimate questions and real legal problems. We will do our best to allay their fears and answer their questions, but there is no guarantee we will get paid for doing so.
Walking up the steps to the third floor one morning, I ran into Charles Barnard, and asked him how he was doing. He replied, “You know, working my ass off so I don’t have to work my ass off.” And that is the way it is for single practitioners who have to hustle for a living, whether they are 35 and new at the game or 60 and seasoned.
We fight for lives, for justice, for freedom, and for fairness, but we also have to work for a living, put food on the table, and meet our obligations. We don't get to get on a high horse knowing there is a payroll check from the state waiting for us each week. Hopefully, all those lawyers laid off last week use their skill sets to find new work. But there is a little voice in my head saying that maybe some of them will soon find out what it is like to work for a living.
I am hardly being harsh. Look at what Scott Greenfield wrote on his blog Simple Justice
The nation's economic climate scares me, and I am worried for our economy, our country. I do not expect lawyers to wind up on unemployment lines anytime soon. You can always try hanging up a shingle outside your front door.
Before I forget, here are two articles about all the firms and all the lawyers who got pink slipped last week.