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Katten Lays Off 21 Attorneys, Sonnenschein Lays Off 24

Posted Oct 16, 2008 2:33 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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As economic turmoil continues, two well-known Chicago-based international law firms have confirmed that they are laying off attorneys.

After reports earlier this week that Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal has laid off some lawyers, both it and Katten Muchin Rosenman have confirmed attorney departures.

Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal has laid off about 24 lawyers throughout its offices and practice areas and "roughly" the same amount of support staff, chairman Elliott Portnoy told the Chicago Tribune in an e-mail late yesterday. And Katten has let 21 lawyers go, partner Tasneem Goodman told the the newspaper in a written statement.

The layoffs of Katten associates and counsel (but no first-years) were reported yesterday evening by Above the Law. The law blog says a statement from Goodman explains that "this measure was taken to further improve the firm's efficiency, to allow for the continued growth of its associates and to ensure the firm's long-term success."

At the same time, Goodman emphasizes that "the firm's financial performance remains strong despite the current economic downturn," the Katten statement continues.

As Portnoy puts it in his e-mail to the Trib: "Tumult in the financial markets is affecting our clients and dramatically reshaping the contours of the transactional, finance, restructuring and litigation work in the financial services sector."

As noted in an earlier ABAJournal.com post about the current lawyer layoffs, Sonnenschein also laid off lawyers in May.

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