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Staff Layoffs Snowball: Shearman to Cut 78, Dewey About 100

Posted Mar 4, 2009 12:35 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Two law firms have announced layoffs that affect mostly administrative staffers.

The staff layoffs at Shearman & Sterling and Dewey & LeBeouf come as two other law firms begin cutting a mixture of administrative staffers and lawyers.

Shearman & Sterling is cutting about 60 secretaries and administrative staffers in the United States, and is beginning a review of administrative staffers in the United Kingdom that is expected to result in the loss of another 18 jobs. Above the Law had the news; the law firm confirmed the cuts in an e-mail to the ABA Journal.

A Shearman memo written by the firm's executive director says administrative cuts are in “various groups, including finance, GTS, HR, marketing and office services.”

Meanwhile, Above the Law reports that Dewey & LeBeouf has announced it is eliminating a “significant number of administrative staff positions in offices around the world.” About 100 staffers are expected to lose their jobs, the law firm confirms.

Dewey is also beginning a redundancy consultation in London that could affect lawyers as well as administrative staffers. About 15 lawyers and 15 staffers could be affected.

A National Law Journal story on the layoffs says the cuts aren't surprising. "Along with law firm associates, support staffers have been bearing the brunt of personnel reductions as the legal industry struggles to adjust to the recession," its story says.

The news comes at the same time that O’Melveny & Myers is laying off lawyers as well as staffers. The law firm says it is laying off about 90 lawyers and 110 staffers. Yesterday, Orrick laid off about 100 associates and 200 support staffers.

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