Citing 'overcapacity,' Cooley lays off 150 lawyers and professionals

  • Print

pink layoff slips

Image from Shutterstock.

Cooley has laid off 78 lawyers and 72 paralegals and business professionals as a result of “overcapacity” following an “unexpected economic downturn.”

Cooley announced the layoffs in an internal memo Wednesday obtained by Above the Law,, Law360, Reuters and Bloomberg Law.

The layoffs happened throughout the law firm’s U.S. offices to better align with demand across a number of practice areas, said Cooley chairman and CEO Joe Conroy in the memo.

Conroy said the firm had too much capacity after launching “an aggressive and highly successful talent recruitment strategy” to service “unprecedented demand” in 2020 and 2021. As a result of the “unexpected economic downturn,” some practice groups and administrative functions “are substantially overbuilt,” he said.

“Simply put, we hired more talent that we can reasonably develop, train and deploy against current and anticipated client demand,” Conroy said.

The law firm is providing “comprehensive severance benefits” and other services to those affected.

The layoffs follow job losses in early November for some associates at Cooley. At that time, the law firm said the “attorney separations” were the result of the performance review process. Some publications had labeled the job losses “stealth” layoffs and had said other BigLaw firms were conducting similar layoffs.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.