Schiff Hardin lays off 11 current and incoming associates after 22 partners leave

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Schiff Hardin has acknowledged associate layoffs after 22 of its partners left to form their own law firm earlier this year.

The firm laid off seven current lawyers, mostly first-year associates, and retracted offers to four others slated to join the firm, Above the Law reports.

According to a statement by Schiff Hardin managing partner Marci Eisenstein some support staffers are also being laid off.

“Schiff Hardin is 15 percent smaller today than it was at the start of 2016,” Eisenstein said in the statement posted by Above the Law. “By any measure, this is not an ordinary circumstance and so it was necessary for the firm to develop and implement a plan that realigns our personnel with business realities and with our current and anticipated client demands.

“The realignment impacted seven of our current lawyers, primarily first-year associates, plus four associates who were set to join the firm this spring. Some support staff will also be leaving; some worked for lawyers who have left the firm and therefore there is no work for them. Other staff are leaving because we must re-size our staff to align with our current business needs.”

Eisenstein said the firm will provide severance pay to all departing lawyers and staff, along with professional career transition services and counseling.

“Schiff Hardin is coming off a record year,” her statement said. “Going forward we are focusing on several key practice areas such as IP, product liability, corporate finance, and environmental, and on our profitability, an effort which began last year and is ongoing. As always, we continue to bring top lateral talent to our firm. Schiff Hardin’s exceptional client service, financial stability, well-balanced platform, and culture of collegiality and collaboration enable us to move forward with confidence and we anticipate another strong year in 2016.”

Among the 22 partners who left the firm were 14 equity partners, including former chairman Robert Riley and former managing partner Ronald Safer. Riley told the Am Law Daily (sub. req.) last week that their new firm, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila, has grown to 41 lawyers, mostly due to its acquisition of associates from Schiff Hardin.

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