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More Law Firms May Be Considering Layoffs

Posted Jan 11, 2008 6:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Daily Brief blog of Portfolio.com wonders if more law firm layoffs are in the offing after the announcement yesterday that Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is laying off 35 associates.

The associates work in Cadwalader’s capital markets and global finance departments, hard-hit by volatility in the financial markets. Gregory Markel of the firm’s management committee told the blog the firm had considered tougher performance reviews to winnow out associates, but decided “that is not a forthright way to do it: It injures those who leave. ... We want to be able to recommend them and help them."

Cadwalader’s decision comes as more than 50 associates at Thacher Proffitt & Wood are taking buyouts. Like Cadwalader, Thacher also has a large structured finance practice. Thacher chairman Paul Tvetenstrand said he thinks other firms will also be considering cutbacks.

"I would be surprised if there weren't other firms that had to face these issues," he told the blog.

Updated at 10:10 a.m. to clarify that structured finance is only part of Cadwalader’s practice.

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