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Latham & Watkins Lays Off 190 Associates, 250 Staffers

Posted Feb 27, 2009 9:14 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Rumored layoffs at Latham & Watkins have become a record-setting reality: The law firm is cutting 190 associates and 250 staff members.

Above the Law says it knows of no other law firm to have laid off so many employees, absent a dissolution.

"But Latham is also setting another record, of a more positive nature," Above the Law says. The firm is offering an unheard of severance package that includes six months' salary and medical coverage. The pay will be capped at $100,000, according to the Am Law Daily.

Above the Law posted an internal memo announcing the layoffs. The document says the cuts amount to 12 percent of the firm’s associate ranks and 10 percent of paralegal and administrative staffers. The firm's offices in New York and Los Angeles "will be particularly impacted," according to the Am Law Daily story.

The firm is also pushing back start dates for new associates until mid-December and offering $75,000 to associates who agree to delay their start date until October 2010, the Am Law story says.

Law firm chairman Robert Dell said the firm's 550 partners will not be affected by the cuts. Client demand will likely require less leverage, he told the Am Law Daily. The firm had an "over-capacity issue that we have to deal with," he said.

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