Three Reasons Axiom is the Smart Career Choice in a Recessionary Economy
By Sara Morgan
Navigating a turbulent economy is nothing new to lawyers. From the Dot-Bomb recession in the early 2000s to the financial collapse of the Great Recession in the too-big-to-fail era, to the COVID chaos that preceded a relatively accelerated recovery, corporate lawyers have been there and done that.
But now feels different. Economists are predicting we’re heading into a bear market combined with unusual and additional economic stressors: geopolitical events in Russia and China, record-high inflation, continued supply chain disruption, etc. The economic variables at play in this recession aren’t only different, they’re intersecting with the Great Resignation (or as we at Axiom like to call it, The Great Reflection), in which lawyers are rejecting the notion of returning to the pre-COVID status quo and rebuffing workplaces, practices, and remuneration that don’t align with their personal goals.
The Career Impact of the Looming Recession
Of course, these personal epiphanies will now come face to face with a recessionary economy, in which employers typically have the upper hand. In fact, we’re already starting to see the talent implications of a down-market in industries like big tech, manufacturing, and automotive where corporations are implementing hiring freezes or laying off employees to cut costs.
Law firms, both Biglaw and boutique, are also beginning to feel the pinch, as some begin to layoff significant percentages of staff. This, of course, spells trouble, as we all know that legal risks only proliferate in a volatile marketplace.
So, while the need for legal expertise has never been greater, the ability for Biglaw to navigate inflationary costs amid a potential recession has experts concerned firms won’t be able to keep up with the corresponding rise in associate pay or appropriately staff their practices, at least not without passing along those premium prices to GCs.
The Real Question Is: How Does This Affect You?
You’re a corporate lawyer who wants to continue practicing challenging work with esteemed clients. You recognize that employers (be it organizations with legal departments or law firms) traditionally have the leverage in a down market, but you don’t want to lose the flexibility and balance the post-COVID environment afforded you. Additionally, you’re seeking more career autonomy, but want to ensure you still have stability and steady engagement.
The 3 Reasons Why Axiom is the Right Career Choice in a Recessionary Economy
- We have a track record of resilience during recessions: Axiom has grown every year since we were founded more than two decades ago, including through previous recessions. That’s no accident. As companies look to cut costs without incurring risk, they’re increasingly turning to Axiom lawyers to get the experienced, high-caliber attorneys they need while also getting more value from every budgeted dollar.
- Our clients pivot to flexible resourcing vs. fixed spending during uncertainty: When our clients face a volatile economic marketplace, our data indicates that the last thing they want to do is sink more money into permanent headcount. The in-house team is a fixed cost, so GCs ideally want to avoid staffing up for matters that turn out to be transient. Moreover, because it is difficult to anticipate future risk, especially in the current business environment, GCs are forced to hire for tomorrow’s needs based on yesterday’s issues, creating an inherent misalignment. Additionally, legal teams want to be cautious of where and how they spend their budget for outside counsel, so law firm rates are not economically feasible. The Axiom approach enables them to hire the right flexible lawyers for the right matters at the right price and for the right duration. It’s why our clients, including half of the Fortune 100, routinely turn to us for more cost-effective and commercially-minded support and counsel during periods of economic instability.
- Our lawyers spend minimal waiting time between engagements: If you want to work, your cup will runneth over. Our lawyers’ utilization is nearing 90%, which means that our attorneys are working for as many hours (or as few) as they’d like to practice. Axiom lawyers spend minimal time waiting between engagements, making Axiom the safe career bet when a recession is looming. Data suggests that a recessionary economy will only accelerate this utilization. In addition, the average Axiom engagement length is now 11 months long, though most lawyers stay engaged with their clients for many more months, and often years, longer. Lawyers who crave stability will find it a core part of Axiom’s business model.
Don’t Just Take It from Us. Hear from Our Lawyers in Their Own Words:
Our current and former lawyers are familiar with this perfect storm wherein economic volatility meets a still potent desire for career autonomy.
“My short-term career plan was to make some good money and be financially stable. Axiom did that for me. My long-term plan was all of the above, plus be able to continue to live in the remote area where I was residing at the time. At first, I was very concerned about not being continuously engaged and not having a reliable source of income. Since I’ve been with Axiom, however, I usually have no gaps between engagements. Axiom also provided full-time remote opportunities at a time when working remotely was not typical. Axiom provided creative solutions for me that I had not thought were possible. So in many ways, all the credit for my career happiness should go to Axiom.”
CHERYL AXIOM ATTORNEY (specializing in data privacy law for some of the world’s biggest brands)
“[During the pandemic], my role was eliminated, upending my career’s once-happy trajectory with aftershocks that shook my whole family. I reached out to Axiom in hopes of landing short-term, high-quality opportunities to stay productive while I searched for my next long-term fit. Eventually — as I learned more about the caliber of Axiom’s clients and placements and came to more fully appreciate the flexibility and work/life balance Axiom offered — I came to believe Axiom is my next long-term fit.”
RYAN AXIOM ATTORNEY (currently providing legal counsel to various organizations in different industries)
“[During the 2010 global recession], I went to Axiom, which I’d read about and had been interested in. At Axiom, I knew I could sharpen my skills, work with different clients, and try new experiences. I really could see the benefits personally of working with more businesses. I had also already experienced various ways of working in different countries and organizations, which I could continue to build on and then offer each client. For my career, I decided I wanted to go into a number of high-quality businesses and do my job in order to improve my service to clients. [Joining Axiom] wasn’t a career choice – it was a lifestyle choice that impacted my career decision.”
JENNY AXIOM ATTORNEY (currently leading a legal team of Axiom lawyers in the UK)
“Joining Axiom was one of the most critical and pivotal moments in my career. I'd explored it in the past, but during the pandemic, it felt as though the timing was exactly right to pursue something new. It's a risk, stepping into a place where it looks and feels a lot different than a ‘normal’ job, where questions like job security, stability, flexibility, and client/engagement availability all race through your mind. At the time, I didn't know what to expect or where it would take me, but sometimes you have to trust your instincts and take a leap of faith. I'm really glad that I did that, because I can't envision how I would've ended up working for my current employer without Axiom providing that path.”
KATE FORMER AXIOM ATTORNEY (now working for an F50 company)
To learn more about how Axiom can provide you with a challenging, stable, rewarding, and competitively-compensated career, fill out the form below to connect with us, apply to join our network today.
Sara Morgan serves as Executive Vice President, Head of Global Legal Talent at Axiom, leading an international team and network of more than 6,800 lawyers and legal professionals who provide legal services to clients across all major industries and practice areas. She joined the Axiom team in 2009, where she quickly rose through the ranks of leadership after many successes, with most recently leading her team to 24% year over year growth in 2020 as Vice President of North American Sales. She moved into her current role in 2021 and has since considerably expanded the caliber and quantity of Axiom lawyers across the globe, reengineering the team and the way in which Axiom attracts and retains its market-leading, high-caliber talent. Prior to joining Axiom, Sara was a commercial litigation lawyer acting for major banking and actuarial companies at an international law firm. She graduated with her Bachelor of Laws from Cardiff University and received her LPC from Nottingham law school in 2004.
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