It’s a few minutes before 3 a.m. when indie rock band The French Semester takes the stage at an underground Los Angeles club that can only be entered after reciting a password (psst … it’s “Yasmine Bleeth”) to a less than friendly bouncer. The Baywatch star’s name opens the way into a dimly lit space in a decaying building in downtown L.A.’s historic core. On a weeknight in mid-May, the club is packed with hipsters and scenesters who will be rolling into work the next day exhausted, or who don’t have to worry about showing up at a job in the morning.

Brandon Dorsky, the band’s fedora-clad manager, is squarely among the latter. Two months earlier, Dorsky was one of 55 attorneys let go from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. He’d known that the firm was planning layoffs. A partner’s telephone conversation about planned cuts — while he rode on an Amtrak train in late February — was overheard by a tipster to the legal blog Above the Law. Pillsbury was forced to essentially confirm the impending layoffs at hastily arranged meetings after the blog post. “It was a tense situation,” Dorsky says of the late winter meetings. “People tried to get clarification as to what would be taken into consideration in layoff decisions.”

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