Law Practice Management

March Mayhem Tally Tops 3,500 After End-of-Month Law Firm Layoffs


Although major law firm layoffs have seemingly slowed down from the blistering pace set during the first 10 days of March, the end-of-month total is still a stunning figure.

Some 3,500 attorneys and staff, and perhaps significantly more, have lost their jobs, and announcements of canceled summer programs, postponed first-year associate start dates and even pay cuts at all levels up to and including partners have lost their initial power to shock. The 3,500 figure for March compares to considerably lower tallies of roughly 2,000 law firm jobs eliminated in February, and 1,500 in January.

After last week’s round up, another seven law firms have added well over over 300 layoffs to the total for March: Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson (41 associates and 58 staff); Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (36 staff); Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell (the firm confirms layoffs of attorneys, counsel and staff, but won’t provide totals; Above the Law says about 6 percent of associates are being cut, and the Austin Business Journal reports that same figure); Reed Smith (26 attorneys and 74 staff); Robinson & Cole (11 attorneys and 19 staff); Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (25 staff layoffs were confirmed, but from what the firm says it appears that a much larger number of staff lawyers and staff may have been laid off); and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan (10 percent of associates).

Because some law firms haven’t announced layoffs or haven’t provided the number of employees let go, the actual tally of confirmed layoffs for March clearly tops 3,500, although the exact number isn’t certain. Lord Locke and Stroock, for example, aren’t included in the 3,500 total because they haven’t provided layoff numbers, although they have confirmed layoffs, and Skadden apparently may have laid off a much larger group than the 25 staff members confirmed and hence included.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “After Early March Mayhem, Law Firm Layoffs Slow: Month’s Total Nears 3,500”

ABAJournal.com: “Cyclical Downturn or Paradigm Shift? BigLaw Leaders Aren’t Sure”

ABAJournal.com: “Citi Law Firm Survey: Hard Times Won’t End Soon, Managing Partners Say”

Updated April 1 to include link to Austin Business Journal coverage.

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