2010 Sees a Huge Dropoff in BigLaw Layoffs; Fewer than 800 Job Losses Chronicled

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BigLaw layoffs slowed considerably last year.

A blog that tracks layoffs at major law firms chronicled only 745 job losses in 2010, a huge drop compared to 2009 when 12,259 were laid off.

According to the tally by Law Shucks, 234 lawyers and 511 staffers were laid off. “With all due respect to the 745 individuals affected, 2010 was a modest year for layoffs in our little slice of heaven,” the blog says.

The blog tracked 26 rounds of layoffs by 22 major law firms. It cautions that layoffs are often underreported, however.

Topping the layoff list is Howrey, which laid off or lost 59 lawyers and 100 staffers. Next on the list are Eversheds, which laid off 112 lawyers and staffers; Mayor Brown, laying off 75 people; Lovells, laying off 69 people; and Morrison & Foerster, laying off 60 staffers.

An exodus of Howrey lawyers spurred managing partner Robert Ruyak to travel to Northern California this month to assure partners there are no plans to close any offices there. Ruyak has said partner layoffs were part of a plan to strengthen the law firm.

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