Are Law Firms Beginning a Summer Doldrums for Layoffs?

The start of summer marks the slowest month so far for law firm layoffs.

A midyear review by the blog Law Shucks finds that June was the slowest month for layoffs this year. That month, 481 people were laid off at major law firms—347 staffers and 134 lawyers. The worst month for layoffs was March, when 3,682 people lost law firm jobs—1,337 lawyers and 2,345 staffers.

The low June numbers are consistent with a slower second quarter for layoffs. According to the blog, 73 percent of this year’s layoffs occurred in the first quarter of the year.

In all, 125 major law firms have announced layoffs totaling 10,723 people for the first six months of the year, according to Law Shucks’ tally. Of that number, 4,015 are lawyers and 6,708 are staffers.

The blog lists 10 top law firms for layoffs for 2009. Here are the top five on the list:

1) Allen & Overy (260 lawyers, 202 staffers)

2) Latham & Watkins (190 lawyers, 250 staffers)

3) White & Case (209 lawyers, 200 staffers)

4) DLA Piper (140 lawyers, 248 staffers)

5) Clifford Chance (209 lawyers, 166 staffers)

The blog points out that the firms with the most layoffs also tend to be the world’s largest. Six of the top 10 firms by lawyer revenue are on the top 10 layoffs list.

Prior coverage: “2009’s Toll: More Than 10,000 Law Firm Layoffs and Lower Pay Trend” “After Early March Mayhem, Law Firm Layoffs Slow: Month’s Total Nears 3,500” “February Free Fall: Major Law Firms Lay Off Another 2,000-Plus Attorneys and Staff” “January’s Carnage: 1,487 Law Layoffs”

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