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Another Law Firm Lays Off Hundreds: This Time, It’s O’Melveny

Posted Mar 4, 2009 12:11 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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For the second day in a row, a large law firm has announced staff cuts affecting hundreds of lawyers and support staffers.

Today O'Melveny & Myers announced it is laying off about 90 lawyers and 110 staffers, cuts that amount to 10 percent of its legal and administrative ranks, Above the Law reports. The law firm confirmed the cuts in an e-mail to the ABA Journal.

Yesterday, the layoff news came from Orrick. The law firm laid off about 100 associates and 200 support staffers.

Most of the positions cut by O'Melveny are in the United States, although offices in London and Asia are also affected, according to a law firm memo published on Above the Law.

The memo says the layoff decision is “difficult and unprecedented.”

A statement released by O'Melveny chairman A.B. Culvahouse says the law firm is "taking these actions largely to address the slowness in our transactions area.”

"We did not make this decision lightly, and it was a step we had very much hoped to avoid," Culvahouse said. "It was only after we took a variety of other measures, including a series of reductions of nonlawyer staff over the past two years and reduced hiring of new attorneys, that we concluded further action was needed to adjust our staffing levels to current and future market demands."

The Am Law Daily also published a story on the cuts.

Meanwhile, two other law firms are announcing staff layoffs today, Above the Law reported. Shearman & Sterling is cutting about 60 secretaries and administrative staffers in the United States, and is beginning a review of administrative staffers in the United Kingdom that is expected to result in the loss of another 18 jobs. Dewey & LeBeouf has announced it is eliminating a “significant number of administrative staff positions in offices around the world," but did not give a total.

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