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4Feb/091

Law Firm Layoffs: February 2009 (2,000+)

As the economy continues to stall and dry up certain practice areas, firm managers are facing tough decisions. Law firms have responded by shedding staff, associates, and partners alike across the country.

We have updated the list if Am Law 200 law firms compiled by The American Lawyer, and included a few others (i.e Ice Miller, Wildman Harrold, Parker Poe, Fish & Richardson, Allen & Overy etc.) that have announced layoffs through February 2009. [We will continue to update this list regularly.]

But just how much do law firms stand to save by slashing ranks? A lot, as it turns out. According to The National Law Journal, law firm leaders and industry consultants say a firm cuts costs by an average of $250,000 for each attorney let go. For each legal assistant or other staffer laid off, a law firm saves about $100,000.

While firms may be enjoying instant savings - which are sometimes greatly reduced by the severance packages that come with layoffs - these same firms will be scrambling to rebuild what they have lost once the economy starts up again; and paying a heavy price, about $250,000for each attorney it attempts to replace (See our post "Alternatives to Slash & Burn Layoffs"). Apparently, most law firms today are more concerned about short-term remedies.

What about corporate legal department layoffs? See our Blog posts "Corporate Legal Department Layoffs: The Market in 2009 (December), and Corporate Legal Department Layoffs: The Market in 2009 (February)."

This list contains law firms who have begun layoffs in late 2008 through February 2009. This is by no means all-inclusive; if your law firm should be included on the list, please let us know.

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THE FIRMS:

  • Akin Gump
  • Allen & Overy
  • Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll
  • Baker & McKenzie
  • Bell Boyd & Lloyd
  • Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod
  • Bingham Mccutchen
  • Blank Rome
  • Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels
  • Bryan Cave
  • Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
  • Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
  • Cahill Gordon
  • Calfee, Halter & Griswold
  • Choate, Hall & Stewart
  • Clifford Chance
  • Cooley Godward
  • Cozen O'Connor
  • Day Pitney
  • Dechert
  • Dewey & Leboeuf
  • Dickstein Shapiro
  • DLA Piper
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath
  • Duane Morris
  • Epstein Becker
  • Faegre & Benson
  • Fenwick & West
  • Fish & Richardson
  • Foley Hoag
  • Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
  • Goodwin Procter
  • Gunderson Dettmer
  • Heller Ehrman (dissolved)
  • Hinshaw & Culbertson
  • Hodgson Russ
  • Hogan & Hartson
  • Holland & Knight
  • Howrey
  • Hunton & Williams
  • Ice Miller
  • Jenner & Block
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman
  • Kaye Scholer
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Latham & Watkins
  • Linklaters
  • Loeb & Loeb
  • Lowenstein Sandler
  • Lovells
  • Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps
  • Mayer Brown
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • McKee Nelson
  • Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy
  • Moore & Van Allen
  • Morgan & Finnegan
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg
  • O'Melveny & Myers
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
  • Patton Boggs
  • Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
  • Pircher, Nichols & Meeks
  • Powell Goldstein
  • Proskauer Rose
  • Reed Smith
  • Ropes & Gray
  • Roetzel & Andress
  • Seyfarth Shaw
  • Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
  • Shutts & Bowen
  • Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
  • Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal
  • Squire, Sanders & Dempsey
  • Sutherland Asbill & Brennan
  • Synnestvedt & Lechner
  • Taylor Wessing
  • Thatcher Profitt & Wood (dissolved)
  • Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner (dissolved)
  • Thompson Hine
  • White & Case
  • Wildman Harrold & Dixon
  • Wilson Sonsini Goodirch & Rosati
  • Winstead
  • Wolf Block

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LAYOFF DETAILS PER FIRM:

AKIN GUMP
Akin Cuts 65 Support Staff
The National Law Journal
January 19, 2009

ALLEN & OVERY
Allen & OVery Lay Off 2 Staff and 3 Associates
Above the Law
January 23, 2009

BAKER & MCKENZIE
Baker Cuts 2o Lawyers in London
Above the Law
January 23, 2009

Baker & McKenzie Axes 6 in NY
Above the Law
June 8, 2008

BALLARD SPAHR ANDREWS & INGERSOLL
Firms Continue to Scale Back Attorneys and Staff
The Legal Intelligencer
January 16, 2009

Law Firms See More Layoffs, Departures of Staff and Associates
The Legal Intelligencer
June 5, 2008

BELL BOYD & LLOYD
Chicago's Bell Boyd & Lloyd Lays Off 10 Associates
The National Law Journal
Nov. 3, 2008

Bell Boyd Confirms Layoffs
Above the Law
Oct. 30, 2008

BILZIN SUMBERG BAENA PRICE
Layoffs Confirmed this Month
The ABA Journal
Feb. 27, 2009

BINGHAM MCCUTCHEN
Bingham McCutchen Lays Off 10 Staff Members
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
July 30, 2008

Bingham Lays Off San Francisco Bay Area Staff
The National Law Journal
May 21, 2008

BLANK ROME
Boston’s Foley Hoag Lays Off 32 Associates and Staff
Above the Law
Jan. 16, 2009

Law Firms See More Layoffs, Departures of Staff and Associates
The Legal Intelligencer
June 5, 2008

BROWN RUDNICK BERLACK ISRAELS
Boston-Based Brown Rudnick Lays Off 20 Lawyers, 20 Staff Members
The National Law Journal
November 21, 2008

BRYAN CAVE
58 Attorneys, 76 Staff at Bryan Cave Let Go
Above the Law
Feb. 12, 2009

BUCHANAN INGERSOLL & ROONEY
Buchanan Ingersoll Makes More Staff Cuts
The Legal Intelligencer
Feb. 20, 2009

Buchanan Ingersoll to Cut Legal Secretaries, Administrative Staff
The Legal Intelligencer
November 24, 2008

CADWALADER, WICKERSHAM & TAFT
Cadwalader Set to Cut Staff From London Office
Legal Week
Feb. 12, 2009

Cadwalader Laying Off 35 in Wake of Slumping Markets
New York Law Journal
Jan. 10, 2009

Cadwalader Lays Off 96 More Lawyers
The American Lawyer
July 30, 2008

CAHILL GORDON
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Cahill Gordon (12)
Above the Law
Jan. 12, 2009

CALFEE, HALTER & GRISWOLD
3 More Cleveland Firms Cut Attorneys, Staff
The Plain Dealer
Feb. 19, 2009

CHOATE, HALL & STEWARD
Boston's Choate Hall Lays Off Lawyers, Staff
The National Law Journal
Jan. 27, 2009

CLIFFORD CHANCE
CC Set to Lay Off Up to 80 Lawyers in the City
Legal Week
Jan. 8, 2009

With '01 in Mind, Law Firms Alter Layoff Strategy
The National Law Journal
Oct. 29, 2008

COOLEY GODWARD
Cooley Axes 52 Lawyers, 62 Staff
The Recorder
Jan. 22, 2009

COZEN O'CONNOR
Cozen O'Connor Lays Off 61 Staff
The Recorder
Feb. 13, 2009

DAY PITNEY
Layoffs Hit Conn. Law Firms (66)
The Connecticut Law Tribute
Feb. 20, 2009

DECHERT
Dechert Lays Off 19 Associates
The Am Law Daily
Feb. 12, 2009

Law Firms Eliminating Staff Members
Philadelphia Business Journal
Dec. 16, 2008

Dechert Chairman: Layoff Rumors Are 'Bull'
The Legal Intelligencer
Oct. 22, 2008

Layoffs Hit Dechert Following Record Financial Year
The Legal Intelligencer
Feb. 29, 2008

DEWEY & LEBOEUF
Dewey to Shutter San Francisco Office, Keep SiliconValey Presence
The Recorder
Feb. 4, 2009

Dewey & Leboeuf Parts Ways with L.A. Associates
Above the Law
Jan. 13, 2009

Dewey & LeBoeuf Closes Charlotte Office
Above the Law
Oct. 20, 2008

Dewey Stay or Dewey Go? D&L Decamps from Hartford, Austin, Jacksonville
Above the Law
April 4, 2008

DICKSTEIN SHAPIRO
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Dickstein Shapiro (10)
Above the Law
Jan. 8, 2009

DLA PIPER
DLA Piper Lays Off 80 Associates and 100 Staffers
The National Law Journal
Feb. 12, 2009

DLA Set to Cut Up to 140 in New Redundancy Round
Legal Week
Feb. 10, 2009

DLA Review Sees Five Lawyers Redundant
The Lawyer
Aug. 4, 2008

DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH
Law Firms Eliminating Staff Members
Philadelphia Business Journal
Dec. 16, 2008

DUANE MORRIS
Duane Morris Lays Off Additional Staff
The Legal Intelligencer
Aug. 22, 2008

EPSTEIN BECKER
Epstein Becker Lays Off 23 Attorneys and 30 Staff
The Recorder
Feb. 13, 2009

FAEGRE & BENSON
Faegre & Benson Lays Off 29 Attorneys
The Recorder
Feb. 13, 2009

FENWICK & WEST
Fenwick Cuts 36 Staff; Freeze Associate Salaries
The Silicon valley/San Jose Business Journal
Jan. 30, 2009

FISH & RICHARDSON
Lawyer Layoffs; 49 Have Left Since November
The Daily Law Journal
Feb. 2, 2009

FOLEY HOAG
I'm Shipping Up To Boston (32)
Above the Law
Jan. 14, 2009

FRAGOMEN, DEL REY,BENSEN & LOEWY
Fragomen Del Rey Announces Associate Layoffs
The Am Law Daily
Nov. 21, 2008

FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER
Freshfields Lays Off Real Estate Associates
Legal Week
Sept. 22, 2008

FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER
Freshfields Lays Off Real Estate Associates
Legal Week
Sept. 22, 2008

FRIED, FRANK, HARRIS, SHRIVER & JACOBSON
Fried Frank Trimming ‘Less Than 10 Percent’ of Firm’s Staff
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
Aug. 20, 2008

GOODWIN PROCTER
Goodwin Procter Lays Off 38 Associates and 36 Staff
The Recorder
Feb. 13, 2009

GUNDERSON DETTMER
Gunderson Axes 8 Associates
The Recorder
Dec. 18, 2008

HELLER EHRMAN
Big Wave of Layoffs Hits Heller
The Recorder
Oct. 17, 2008

Mass Layoffs at Heller
The Recorder
Oct. 13, 2008

HINSHAW & CULBERTSON
Chicago-Based Firm Joins Long List of Midsized Firms Making Cuts (28)
The National Law Journal
Feb. 6, 2009

Mass Layoffs at Heller
The Recorder
Oct. 13, 2008

HODGSON RUSS
Firm Cuts 5 Associates and 8 Staff
Business First of Buffalo
Feb. 3, 2009

HOGAN & HARTSON
Hogan & Hartson Offers Buyouts to 240 Staffers
The National Law Journal
Feb. 10, 2009

Hogan & Hartson Offers Buyout of 250-300 Staff
Above the Law
Feb. 9, 2009

HOLLAND & KNIGHT
Holland & Knight Lays Off 243 Employees
Daily Business Review
Feb. 12, 2009

South Florida Law Firms Feel the Real Estate Slump
The National Law Journal
May 29, 2008

HOWREY
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Howrey Lets 10 People Go for 'Performance'
Above the Law
Dec. 10, 2008

HUNTON & WILLIAMS
Hunton & Williams to Redeploy Charlotte Associates
The American Lawyer
May 16, 2008

ICE MILLER
Squire Sanders and Ice Miller Lay Off Staffers
The National Law Journal
May 16, 2008

JENNER & BLOCK
Jenner & Block Shows 10 Partners the Door
The National Law Journal
Oct. 21, 2008

KATTEN MUCHIN ROSENMAN
Layoffs Hit Attorneys, Staff at Katten and Sonnenschein Firms
The National Law Journal
Oct. 20, 2008

KAYE SCHOLER
Kaye Scholer Trims Five Secretaries
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
Jan. 21, 2009

KIRKLAND & ELLIS
Kirkland & Ellis Fires Non-Equity Partners (10)
Above The Law
Jan. 7, 2009

Legal Recruiters Say Kirkland & Ellis May Lay Off 15 or More Attorneys
The National Law Journal
Jan. 9, 2009

LATHAM & WATKINS
Latham to Cut 190 Associates, 250 Staff
The American Lawyer
Feb. 27, 2009

LINKLATERS
Linklaters Set to Make Job Cuts in Stockholm
Legal Week
Feb. 6, 2009

Linklaters Review Set to Claim up to 270 Jobs
Legal Week
Jan. 29, 2009

LOEB & LOEB
Loeb & Loeb Layoffs Round 2
Above The Law
January 12, 2009

Loeb & Loeb Cuts Eight Associates
The National Law Journal
November 11, 2008

Nationwide (Stealth) Layoff Watch: Shearman & Sterling and Loeb & Loeb
Above The Law
November 10, 2008

Loeb & Loeb Cuts Eight Associates
The National Law Journal
November 11, 2008

LOWENSTEIN SANDLER
Layoffs Confirmed this Month
The ABA Journal
Feb. 27, 2009

LOVELLS
Lovells to Cut Up to 94 Jobs in Staffing Review
Legal Week
Feb. 9, 2009

LUCE, FORWARD, HAMILTON & SCRIPPS
Luce Forward Lays Off 27
The Recorder
Feb. 6, 2009

MAYER BROWN
Mayer Brown Lays Off 33 Lawyers
Legal Times
November 21, 2008

MCDERMOTT, WILL & EMERY
McDermott, Will & Emery Lays Off 60 Attorneys, 89 Staffers
The National Law Journal
Feb. 4, 2009

MCKEE NELSON
McKee Nelson Lays Off Attorneys and Staff; Co-Founder Optimistic
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
Nov. 3, 2008

McKee Nelson Lays Off 17 Associates
New York Law Journal
Nov. 4, 2008

MILBANK TWEED HADLEY & MCCLOY
Is Milbank Setting Up For Stealth Layoffs? Not According to Milbank
Above the Law
Jan. 13, 2009

Milbank Didn't Fire 'All' Its Staff Attorneys
Above the Law
April 18, 2008

MOORE & VAN ALLEN
Moore & Van Allen Lays Off 20 Staff Members
Above the Law
Oct. 15, 2008

MORGAN & FINNEGAN
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Morgan & Finnegan
Above the Law
Aug. 21, 2008

MORGAN LEWIS & BOCKIUS
Morgan Lewis Lays Off Associates; Numbers Could Reach 50
Above the Law
Jan. 28, 2009

MORRISON & FOERSTER
200 Lose Job at Foerster & Morrison
The Recorder
Jan. 29, 2009

NEAL, GERBER & EISENBERG
Neal Gerb Lay Off 19 Attorneys and 32 Staff
The Chicago Tribune
Feb. 24, 2009

O'MELVENY & MYERS
O'Melveny Cuts Associate, Staff Headcount
The National Law Journal
Oct. 27, 2008

Nationwide Layoff Watch: O'Melveny & Myers
Above the Law
Oct. 23, 2008

ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE
Orrick to Trim About 40 Lawyers, 35 Staff--“Unrelated to Performance”
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog
Nov. 13, 2008

Orrick's Baxter: In This Economy, No Practice Area is So Robust it's Bursting at the Seams
The Am Law Daily
Nov. 13, 2008

Orrick Lays Off Associates, Staff
The Recorder
Nov. 13, 2008

PARKER POE ADAMS & BERNSTEIN
NC’s Parker Poe Lays Off 13 Lawyers
Triangular Business Journal
Jan. 9, 2009

PATTON BOGGS
Pain at Patton Boggs
Texas Lawyer
July 2, 2008

PAUL, HASTINGS, JANOFSKY & WALKER
Paul Hastings Denies Reports of Layoffs
The American Lawyer
May 12, 2008

PILLSBURY WINTHROP SHAW PITTMAN
Pillsbury Offers ‘Voluntary Departure Plan’ to Lawyers
Above the Law
Feb. 24, 2009

Pillsbury Confirms Layoff Leak (15-20)
The Recorder
Feb. 20, 2009

More About Pillsbury Winthrop (but at Least They Get iPhones!)
Above the Law
July 16, 2008

Pillsbury Winthrop Axes 15 in California?
Above the Law
July 14, 2008

PIRCHER NICHOLS & MEEKS
75 Lawyer Pircher Lays Off 8 Attorneys, 4 Staff
The National Law Journal
Dec. 18, 2008

POWELL GOLDSTEIN
Powell Goldstein Associates, Staff Feel the Pinch of Layoffs
Fulton County Daily Report
June 23, 2008

PROSKAUER ROSE
Proskauer Cuts 60 People
Above The Law
Dec. 4, 2008

REED SMITH
Law Firms See More Layoffs, Departures of Staff and Associates
The Legal Intelligencer
June 5, 2008

Reed Smith Cans Staff, Associates, 'And Your Little Dog Too'
Above The Law
Dec. 4, 2008

Law Firms See More Layoffs, Departures of Staff and Associates
The Legal Intelligencer
June 5, 2008

ROPES & GRAY
Ropes & Gray Cuts 106 Staff Positions; 10 Percent of Nonlawyer Staff
The National Law Journal
Jan. 30, 2009

Staff Layoff Watch: Ropes & Gray Lays Off 106 Employees
Above The Law
Jan. 29, 2009

ROETZEL & ANDRESS
3 More Cleveland Firms Cut Attorneys, Staff
The Plain Dealer
Feb. 19, 2009

SEYFARTH SHAW
Seyfarth Bucks Trend, Publicly Announces Layoffs
Law.com
Dec. 12, 2008

Seyfarth Shaw Lays Off 30 Attorneys
Above the Law
Dec. 5, 2008

Nationwide Layoff Watch: Seyfarth Shaw
Above the Law
July 10, 2008

SHEPPARD MULLIN RICHTER & HAMPTON
25 Layers Let Go Since January
The ABA Journal
Feb. 24, 2009

SHUTTS & BOWEN
South Florida Law Firms Feel the Real Estate Slump
The National Law Journal
May 29, 2008

SIMPSON THACHER & BARTLETT
Simpson Thacher Denies Layoffs Report
The American Lawyer
Aug. 12, 2008

SKADDEN ARPS
Latest Layoffs: Skadden Staff Attorneys & 65 Akin Gump Staff, Among Otherst
Above the Law
Jan. 20, 2009

SONNENSCHEIN NATH & ROSENTHAL
Sonnenschein To Shutter Charlotte, NC Office (11 attorneys and 8 staff)
The American Lawyer
February 27, 2009

Layoffs Hit Attorneys, Staff at Katten and Sonnenschein Firms
The National Law Journal
Oct. 20, 2008

Sonnenschein Announces Layoffs -- More Than 100 Legal, Nonlegal Jobs Cut
The American Lawyer
May 28, 2008

SQUIRE SANDERS & DEMPSEY
Squire Sanders and Ice Miller Lay Off Staffers
The National Law Journal
Jan. 21, 2009

Squire Sanders Asks 30 Associates, Paralegals to 'Explore Opportunities Elsewhere'
The National Law Journal
November 21, 2008

SUTHERLAND ASBILL & BRENNAN
Sutherland Trims Associate Ranks
Fulton County Daily Report
April 30, 2008

SYNNESTVEDT & LECHNER
IP Boutique's Fall Is Fox Rothschild's Gain
The American Lawyer
Aug. 27, 2008

TAYLOR WESSING
Taylor Wessing Becomes Latest Firm to Cut Jobs
Legal Week
Oct. 31, 2008

THATCHER PROFITT & WOOD
Thacher Proffitt Announces Expected Dissolution
Blog of Legal Times
December 22, 2008

Thacher Proffitt Loses Half its Lawyers as 100 Jump to Sonnenschein
The New York Times
December 22, 2008

THELEN REID BROWN RAYSMAN & STEINER
Thelen Lays Off 26 Associates, 85 Staffers
The Recorder
March 20, 2008

THOMPSON HINE
3 More Cleveland Firms Cut Attorneys, Staff
The Plain Dealer
Feb. 19, 2009

WHITE & CASE
White & Case Lays Off 70 Associates
The Am Law Daily
Nov. 11, 2008

Nationwide Layoff Watch: White & Case Brings Layoffs into the Vault Top 20
Above The Law
Nov. 11, 2008

Divorce, Italian Style
The American Lawyer
Oct. 24, 2008

WILDMAN HARROLD & DIXON
Wildman Harrold Axes 10 Attorneys
Above the Law
Jan. 9, 2009

WILSON SONSINI GOODRIC & ROSATI
Wilson Sonsini Lays Off 45 Associates, 68 Support Staff
National Law Journal
Jan. 27, 2009

WINSTEAD
Winstead to Lay Off 20 in Dallas Office
The Dallas Morning News
Feb. 14, 2008

WOLF BLOCK
Law Firms Eliminating Staff Members
Philadelphia Business Journal
Dec. 16, 2008

Nationwide Layoff List: Wolf Block Fires 15 Associates and Staff
Above the Law
Dec. 15, 2008

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  1. These are just the tip of the iceberg in the UK. As legal recruiters specialising in the smaller firm end, we estimate that almost every law firm in the UK has laid off at least one member of staff. We have already seen over 2,000 solicitors register with us since the credit crunch started, and when the property markets pick up here in the future, I expect the firms to suddenly have to go out and recruit property lawyers in large numbers, costing them a small fortune in advertising and recruitment costs. The problem is of course keeping them on when there is no work for them to do..


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