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Does a recession mean lay-offs or is it a time to snag laterals? Your view probably depends on your place in the firm hierarchy, says Ben Hallman Ryan Rettmann left Thacher Proffitt & Wood in the nick of time. Last March, not long before the subprime crash paralysed the debt markets, the first-year structured finance associate moved to Chicago’s Kirkland & Ellis. At Thacher Proffitt, he had been working on securities backed by home mortgages, a niche that was dead in the water by the end of summer. At Kirkland, he took a job working on auto-loan securitisations, a considerably healthier asset class.

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