Hiring Freezes, Furloughs and Contract Modifications, Oh My.

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Dorothy, the Scarecrow and Tin Man famously chanted, "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my" in the Wizard of Oz when they were collectively contemplating what they might meet on the road ahead (yeah, you know, that yellow brick one). For the legal industry, what's on the immediate horizon? According to a COVID-19 weekly survey of GCs by @TechGC, 49% have, or are planning, a hiring freeze; 19% have implemented, or are planning to implement, furloughs; and 40% are requesting modifications to contracts. 

At @ElevateNext and @ElevateServices, while we are helping our customers through the immediate crisis in a number of ways, we are also spending a lot of time looking at the "Next Normal". In other words, what will happen after the figurative dust settles. What these survey statistics tell us is that law departments will be forced to do much, much more with much, much less. Less staff, less budget, but the same, or even more work. We have said before, but we are even more certain now, that customers will have to turn to flexible staffing options (i.e., contracted help without the overhead) and to law companies that can support them with global resources at much lower costs to handle the work they have with the constraints they will face.  

That's okay. Look at the Next Normal like Oz–the promising destination you want to get to. Will there be scary things (and times) along the way? Yes. But surrounded by solid business partners and foresight about what's on the path ahead, you and your companies will be okay. And maybe in the end, this will reveal that "same old same old" is the fake wizard behind the curtain and the Next Normal will reign for now. Oh my!

Given the rapidly evolving situation, TechGC has implemented a weekly survey of its members including General Counsel from a broad cross section of tech companies of all stages, sizes and industries across the US and abroad. The survey is designed to monitor trends across the ecosystem and provide valuable insights to inform company decision-making.


By Nicole Auerbach

Co-Founder, ElevateNext Law, Deputy General Counsel, Elevate at Elevate Next

Nicole co-leads the ElevateNext business and is a founder of ElevateNext Law, LLP, a new model law firm founded in 2018, that sits alongside Elevate to provide customers with a one-stop solution that includes the practice of law. Nicole also serves as Deputy General Counsel at Elevate. Nicole is nationally known as an innovator in the legal industry, having founded Valorem Law Group in 2008 to pioneer the alternative fee movement. Valorem was named "One of the 22 Best Firms at AFAs" by BTI Consulting in 2016. Prior to forming Valorem, Nicole practiced for 15 years at an AmLaw 100 firm in Chicago, where she was a partner in the litigation department. She represents clients in federal and state courts and in arbitrations across the country using alternative fee arrangements. In 2017, Nicole was named one of the "Most Influential Women Attorneys in Chicago" by Crain's Publishing. Nicole was previously named "One of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois" by Illinois SuperLawyers and one of "Forty Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch" by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Nicole is a certified arbitrator through the American Arbitration Association. She is also a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.

#lawdepartment #remoteworking #covid19

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