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How Ford Motor Credit laid off lawyers provides some lessons for others

A senior attorney with Ford Motor Credit spoke on a panel at the SuperConference. She laid out several aspects of the reduction in force recently endured by her law department. Muzette Hill Stallings said that management told the department about the downsizing one month before the layoff day. That day, managers tapped lawyers on the shoulder, went to a separate room with them, and read them a script. Along with the manager was a representative from Human Resources and a psychologist. Next door was a representative from Right Management, a specialist in helping terminated employees deal with being fired and start looking for another job. The lawyers laid off had two months of assistance from Right Management.

Stallings explained that the layoffs were basically done on a seniority basis. She closed by saying that the next day the entire law department – the survivors – took part in an “All-Clear” meeting, an emotionally important time to acknowledge the grief and wrenching pain, cope some with the guilt that survivors have, and start the process of healing and getting on with life (See my post of Feb. 5, 2009: layoffs with 7 references.).

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