2008-2009 job cuts

Were you or any of your friends affected? Wonder how long it took people to bounce back.

I wasn't.  Plenty of people I know were, and their careers never really recoverd.

Fckn sh1t times m9.  Funny to think it was now 3 years ago that I had a wide-eyed work experience kid asking me about the crisis in a "so what was it like during the war, Grandpa" kind of way.  


I was desperate to be made redundant but my khunting firm created a role for me in a different team which I didn’t really enjoy so I quit in the end. best thing I ever did.

A bunch of my mates were as was I.  From my firm they culled 5 including me.  Doesn’t sound like a lot but was a teeny tiny firm and that was a quarter of the corporate team.

I never got back into law as a few earner.  Two others didn’t either, although one was probably always heading towards PE anyway.

Who are you writing your article for?


(I hope that's what prompted this thread and not you yourself being made redundant)

I was one of those 'deferred trainees' at the time. Never really knew anyone who got caught up. Was just remembering the non-stop articles about redundancies when sh|t really hit the fan. I think LW cut about 200+ associates. 

By some miracle I managed to find a TC in 2008 but in a much smaller firm than I would have hoped to train in. 

Who remembers the FT article (front page of Section 2) in about 2010 which talked about the "End of the RollonFriday Generation"?

The accompanying (half page) photo was the escalators to the first floor reception at A&O.

I was made up in 2007.  It would be another 10 years before that firm made anyone else up in London other than a lateral hire.

I got binned in early 2009 and really took me until 2015 to get properly back up and running again as had a couple of false starts due to the joys of fighting your way back into work when you've been out of it for a while.

Maidamax - are you new?

It was deeply traumatic.  No, no one died.  But colleagues being sprung upon their return from lunch and being supervised to pack their desks before getting escorted out of the building with cardboard boxes, secretaries returning from meetings with HR in tears to pack up their desks, getting email bouncebacks in the afternoon from clients you'd only been speaking to that morning, the leavers/joiners list being taken off the intranet because the former suddenly so grossly outnumbered the latter...

Fuck that shit.

Did a masters, then some temp paralegal work, then tried my hand at something a little different that didn't agree with me before finally getting back into law with a small firm who turned out to be shysters before finally ending up where I am now.

I was offered a 6-monthly contract. I changed firm and moved abroad (partially). In a year I was between London and the forrin place and built it up from there. 

I was at Keoghs at the some, so being chopped would have been a blessing.

I know a guy from a major bank who was sent to the US to consider expansion options at the end of 2007, heh, he spent 18 months playing golf pretty much.

The run up to it cost me my hoped for partnership at my MC firm (nobody made up in my area for a good 5 or 6 years post).

The firm I moved to (immediately before the shit really hit the fan) binned half the department in London and about a third of the London office overall.  A couple of people landed okay but even amongst the partners the fallout was pretty nasty (you don't really give up a London partnership gig to go contracting for an insolvent Lehman).

My wife got picked for redundancy at her firm but then given another role at the same firm before they'd actually paid her out - actually worked out quite well as the new job made the whole raising sproggs bit much easier.

heh arbiter.  you were doing structured finance and moved to Cadwalader, AICM Series 2007-2A Trust Unsubordinated Reset Disintermediated Securities (TURDS).



(rated AAA by S&P and Fitch, and Aaa by Moodys).



OK, OK.  Paul Hastings.  Let's not get pedantic here.


Laz laughed and mocked  when i said this was coming ,so infatuated with the Labour Party was he that this could never occur on their watch

Bear Stearns letting 2 of its subsidiaries go bankrupt was the canary in the mine

I had to sack three people. That made me feel really bad, but I got over it. 


UBS let two of its cash firms break the buck some time mid year.  I was at a work thing somewhere round Woking of all exciting places to observe the first eruption of Versuvius.

It had started earlier if anyone had noticed.

We were in the process of launching a structured deal  May-June 2007.  Kept on getting postponed before finally closing mid-late June.  Turned out they were delayed because they weren't able to sell the subordinated piece.  The next one was supposed to close mid-late July.  Again further delays.  Can't remember exactly when it died (I think maybe around 10 August)? But fuck me, by then we knew that the party was well and truly over.

Still amazes me that equity markets didn't peak for almost a year after that and most people don't think of the crisis as having started until 2008.  By easter 2008 I was turning up to work in jeans and a t shirt thinking it would be less humiliating to be escorted out of the building looking like a trespasser than a recently dismissed employee.

The real estate sector was decimated.  Still hasn't recovered properly.


The benefit of that is that only the better colourers-in now remain, so we have less fuck ups.

I was lucky in that I had booked holiday already and knew they’d sack me before I went away.  So I had a nice early start to my lunch, a couple of bottles of a rather decent red, ambled back in around 3:30 - was called to the board room about 4 where I took it on the chin like a trooper.  Fair play tho they doubled what they needed to give me and grossed it up.

Had a number of friends working in IBanking for Bulge Bracket Banks ( M&A and ECM). They just about all got culled, but got paid relatively handsomely. Some moved to strategy consulting, one became an academic following a sponsored PhD. The others took time off, thinking things would return to near normal in 12 months, and when it didn't they ended up at tiny "boutique Investment Banks", think 2 partners and half a dozen staff, on 50% less pay.


Couple moved in to PE, where they have remained and flourished since TBF

True to some extent Badman but on the residential side lots of firms are now full of paralegals and others helping out the hard pressed conveyancers and as a result I get some really dim enquiries at times.

I remember it fondly.


walked out of the office for the last time the Friday before Christmas.  got home to discover my divorce had come through.


said WOOOO HOOOOO ! FREEDOM! and fvcked off skiing for three weeks with absolutely no responsibilities.  then started work in the new place when I got back. and here I still am a decade later.


Heh @ Chambo.  Alan B'Stard shout. 


In all seriousness, Sailers, the RE part of the profession still hasn't properly recovered.

I was public sector so the job cuts didn't start biting until after the 2010 election, by which time I was mainly doing employment so at least my team was busy (until the ET fees came in).  

linking the timing to a divorce doesn't really help us get to specifics, clubbers.


Or was that around the time your bub was born?

I know Badders and that worked in my favour with firms looking for mid-level associates with decent experience.  I may have been out of the game from 2009 to 2013 but had much better experience than the kids who'd qualified in 2007 and had similar PQE but gained in a period where no big deals happened.

anyone else working in the Wharf the day Lehmanns went pop. Such a weird atmosphere, people sitting around in All Bar One with cardboard boxes with all their desk stuff in it etc.

I remember bumping into a pal who worked there, he had emptied all the cans of coke out of the vending machine because they didn't think he would get refunded the money he had loaded onto his staff pass.

I remember a few people on here took a hit back then, but they all seem to have bounced back.

Which one was the Lehmann building? Who occupies it now?

I think hardest hit were the ones who were between 4 - 8/9 PQE. 

The thing about AnO clearing out a whole team of ISDA lawyers...was that true?

Linklaters started it, cleared out loads of senior people, then Clifford Chance chucked a rew hundred out, then the others, and all the de-equitising stuff that went on.

The only firm that emerged with any credit was Norton Rose. Didn't sack anyone, just put everyone on a four day week.

If only I'd stayed at NR.  Instead I was at the firm now called Womble who binned a third of the associates in property in the office I was in and then put those who weren't fired on a 9 day fortnight.

If you were at Norton Rose at the time taking a 20% salary cut was kind of better than the alternative I would guess.

And they kept all their best people for when things recovered.

I think that would be preferable to phoning your mates begging for any kind of work because you've only got £600 left in your bank account and are selling your car to continue paying your mortgage.

The thing about AnO clearing out a whole team of ISDA lawyers...was that true?

Dunno, but I do know that their redundancy process magically selected mostly mid-seniorish female associates.  AFAIAA most of whom had perfectly good records and scores in most of the criteria but then got marked into the bottom of the pack on the "future prospects / networking potential" score (which was obviously in no way a proxy for the "might get pregnant in the future" score).

Surely networking potential as a criterion is just basically awarding scores to their norks so would itself be a basis for a claim?

The great partner at the firm I worked at then told two of us that if we didn't take a pay cut the third associate would get canned. Would have been a real moral maze if the Associate was a bellend, but he is a great guy and had a young family at the time so I had to supress my inner Scotsman. 

@Bananaman that's awesome. Very very dark times from all the stories - hope we don't see those days again for a loooong time. 

Do you think he told the 3rd the same thing ? Proper prisoners dilemma stuff. 

Why didn't the partner take the hit?

When Bond Dickinson were looking for merger partners you would have thought that Womble would fall at the first hurdle.  

I joined a new firm in late 2007.  Was dreading redundancy but no-one was canned until 2014 (and I moved on around the same time for personal reasons).  The firm is a basket case now.  

LOL at "why didn't the partner take the hit". This one in particular would be more likely to saw off his toe with a butter knife, but in any event in partnerships all the mean khunts ban inidividual goodwill in the interests of not having their khuntery exposed but dressing it up as the need to present a unified front in the face of difficult business decisions. 

Not in the recession, but at another firm I worked at a really decent partner replied to an all partner email asking why they couldn't make associates pay all of the new parking charges levied by the landlords so the partners could still park free saying it was because they worked their arses off to pay the partners' mortgages so it was a particularly khuntish thing to do. Got shown the door a few years later :( 

With my redundancy they told the six of us involved that if we could work out a way to reduce our working hours to save the equivalent of two full time salaries we could all stay.  Seemed reasonable until we tried doing the calculation and realised that as two people were only part time anyway it was impossible to make the saving unless those of us who were full time only worked a couple of days a week and the part-timers went to just popping in for a couple of hours.

Heh I am so unsurprised.  One of my friends who was a fixed share partner once turned to me after the equity partners had all shown up just too late for the first round of drinks and said “you know Tecco, it’s always the richest ones who are the most tight.”

I will caveat that with the fact that there are some very very decent full eq out there who have not only been generous to the team and I but frankly put their reputations on the line for me personally so it’s not an absolute but it’s very often the case.