Attorney Outplacement Services: A Quick Guide

September 27, 2017 by Josh Hrala

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Like anything industry specific, finding attorney outplacement services can be tricky. There are a lot of firms to choose from and many of them offer what – at first glance – appears to be the same thing.

Attorney Outplacement Services

To help guide you through this journey, we put together a quick guide to attorney outplacement services, providing you with all of the information you need to determine what provider will work for your outbound staff members.

Before we jump into the guide, though, it’s important to note that layoffs can be detrimental to your firm overall. The general public typically doesn’t respond well to layoffs of any kind, putting a lot of pressure on HR to handle them with care.

One of the best ways to pull off a layoff without all the negative stuff that can come along with them is to make sure the notification meeting goes off without a hitch. To help with that, we want to offer you this complementary layoff script that’s proven to keep you on track during the stressful meeting and also give respect to your staff. You can download it here:

Download our Layoff Script!

Okay, now that that disclaimer is out of the way. Let’s get into it.

Attorney Outplacement Services: What to Expect

The first thing a lot of people say when shopping for outplacement is “are any of these firms really different from one another?”

That’s a good question because – in a way – they all want to offer you the same thing: to get your staff member into a new role in a new firm or industry.

The problem with this thinking is that attorney outplacement firms typically differ when it comes to tact, which we’ll get into in a moment. Basically, though, attorney outplacement services should all work to get your outbound staff member placed in a new role without all of the stress that comes along with job hunting.

You should expect a typical firm to work with clients to shore up their resumes, make social media accounts like LinkedIn, prep for interviews, apply for jobs through various methods, and then eventually land an interview and get placed.

Learning More: [Outplacement Coaching] What to Expect From Your Provider

Having a solid guide through this process takes a lot of stress out of the equation. Instead of second guessing their personal choices, they will be able to rely on an expert coach to help them through this tough time, which will allow them to get placed faster and in a role that they actually want to have. After all, finding a filler job that is completely outside the norm for the staff member isn’t hard, but getting them placed in a role that will be meaningful to them is another story.

Why Do I Need Outplacement in the First Place?

This is the second most asked question, and, again, it’s reasonable. After all, it’s a service that helps a staff member who is no longer working for the firm. So why should you care?

For starters, it’s simply the right things to do. If throwing staff members out on the street with no severance and outplacement is something you do often, you’re treading on thin ice when it comes to getting sued and having your firm’s reputation ran through the mud.

Besides being logically the right thing to do, attorney outplacement services protect your company and your brand from the scorn of the public and your ex-staff member.

Attorney Outplacement Services

Put on your imagination hat and let’s consider a hypothetical example.

You work for a law firm for 10 years. You get comfortable, you make friends, you have your finances all figured out. Then, out of the blue, you learn that layoffs are coming up. The day comes and you are one of the people affected.

The HR manager informs you of your last day, doesn’t let you say goodbye to your staff, and basically kicks you to the curb with only a severance check to hold you over.

If you don’t already have something lined up, you have to start searching for a new job while also dealing with a boatload of new financial stress. Now, ask yourself: how do you feel about your ex-employer?

Attorney Outplacement Services

If you’re like just about anyone, you’ll probably feel resentful.

When your employee feels this way, they can seriously damage your reputation by making their scorn public online, through protests, and many other actions. At the same time, the general public will turn away from your company/firm, taking their business elsewhere.

For law firms, this is even worse because you might have just terminated a lawyer who knows he or she can take you to court because you didn’t handle the layoff properly. What does the public see when a law firm can’t understand how the law works when it comes to letting employees go? Nothing good, that’s for sure.

How to do I Find the Right Provider for Me?

And finally, here’s what you should look for when shopping around for attorney outplacement services.

Like we said above, it’s easy to just choose a firm and be done with it, but outplacement is a delicate procedure that you need to fully examine before you waste a bunch of hard-earned money.

Recommended Reading: 4 Things All Outplacement Organizations Should Provide Your Business

Here are a few differentiators to look out for:

Term Limits

Like many business services, outplacement providers love term limits. Traditional firms will offer outplacement for a set period of time and if the client isn’t placed within that time, they are dropped from the program.

This is extremely problematic because it could put your ex-staff member in a really tight spot. Consider the example we used above, but this time with an outplacement package provided to the person.

If that person runs out of severance money and is also terminated from their outplacement provider, they will be just as resentful as they were at start except this time they are now in financial peril without a support system.

So, when shopping for attorney outplacement services, you want to make sure that the firm you go with doesn’t have term limits, working with your employee until they are placed. Why gamble with a service that holds so much weight?

Retainer Fees

As a law firm, you are probably know a whole lot about retainer fees. Well, outplacement firms are no different when it comes to their services. However, for outplacement, it makes less sense for them to charge retainer fees when their services are not required as immediately as legal counsel.

Attorney Outplacement Services

For outplacement providers, retainer fees are a great way to get paid without actually doing any of the work. You should look for a provider that allows you work with them without all of the extra money spent on retainer. In other words, you want a partnership that allows you to use their services without bleeding money when you don’t need to.


The last thing you should look at is how the firm handles their actual outplacement process in terms of technology. To learn more about other things to ask about process, check out our post here.

When it comes to technology, your outplacement provider should be at the cutting-edge, providing virtual outplacement to anywhere in their target area, which is typically the US and Canada, though some are more international.

Either way, attorney outplacement services is one of those things that can be done 100 percent online. The job hunt is online. LinkedIn is, obviously, online. Your outplacement provider should be, too, making it way easier for clients to use the service on their own terms.

More traditional firms require participants to get outplacement by heading into cities and working with coaches at brick-and-mortar locations. This is old-school and stagnant. How are you supposed to trust a company to navigate the ever-changing digital work environment if they can’t even figure out how to provide coaching and learning abilities online? You can’t.

If you look out for these three simple things, you will be well on your way to choosing a great attorney outplacement service provider.

Further Reading: Choosing an Outplacement Package (Everything You Need to Know)


Don’t just take our word for it, though. The best way to make sure the provider is right for you is to see a demo of their services. You can check out ours here:

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Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

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