Sonnenschein Acknowledges Layoffs of 37 Lawyers, 87 Staffers

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Updated: Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal is laying off 37 lawyers and 87 staff members, spread across practice groups and offices.

Twenty-seven of the lawyers are associates, six are partners and four are of counsel. The staffers asked to leave include 41 secretaries, 34 other support staffers, and 12 “timekeepers” such as paralegals.

Sonnenschein chairman Elliott Portnoy confirmed the layoffs in an interview with Above the Law. “We were not going to attempt to do this [reduction in force] below the radar,” he told the blog. “We were going to do this as openly and transparently as we could. We would not attempt to pass this off as performance-based.”

He said real estate and litigation were the practices most directly affected, but since those are the firm’s biggest practice areas, “numerically this is not surprising.”

“We concluded we had too many talented people for the level of work expected,” he said.

Linda Butler, public relations manager for the law firm, told that lawyers are getting 60 days’ notice and transition assistance. Staff members are getting severance packages based on length of service with the firm and outplacement assistance.

Updated at 8:30 a.m. to include information from Linda Butler.

More coverage:

Sonnenschein Layoffs Signal Sea Change in Law Firm PR Strategy

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