No news is good news if you’re a Big Law associate short on hours this summer. As layoffs roll through the Am Law 100 this summer, many of the recent cuts framed as “performance-related” have been tied to negative midyear reviews—reviews that didn’t exist at many firms when demand was high.

In slow practice areas, not all associates who escaped with their jobs are in the clear yet. Increasingly, associates and recruiters report law firms’ use of performance improvement plans or PIPs as a means of creating pretext for firing an associate for cause in the coming months.

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