Biglaw, Layoffs

Nationwide Layoff Watch: Is Today ‘Layoff Day’ at Cadwalader?

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft CWT Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid blog.JPGWe’ve been hearing, from multiple sources, that something big is going down today at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Some of our sources have dubbed it “Layoff Day,” although we don’t know yet whether the news relates to layoffs or something else.
Here’s what we’ve been hearing:

1. One can check the availability of conference rooms on the CWT intranet. Today’s schedule shows that Mitch Walsh, the firm’s executive director, has reserved an entire floor for the day that consists of nothing but conference rooms, and Patti Ellis, the firm’s head of Associate Development and Recruitment, has reserved a half dozen other conference rooms.

2. A meeting of the Firm Committee is scheduled in the afternoon.

3. A rumor is going around of a merger (although one source says, “I don’t know why they would need all the conference rooms to do that,” and another asks, “Who would we merge with?”).

4. Another theory is that the firm is going to inform associates of their bonuses individually (although one tipster wonders why they wouldn’t they have made the announcement ahead of time, so people could plan their schedules accordingly).

5. Yet another possibility: the firm will be laying off associates, and they will be using the rooms to process people. This is what one source declares: “Layoffs are starting this week in areas impacted by the credit crunch: capital markets, global finance, etc. No ideas as to numbers.”

6. Some claim that “stealth layoffs” already took place last month, with five partnership-track associates quietly let go in Capital Markets right before the new year.

7. Some Capital Markets associates were previously offered moves to other departments, including Corporate, Financial Restructuring, and Litigation.

Sounds grim. One source sums up: “No one knows for sure, but today looks like it will be the culmination of rumors circulating for over a month now.”
CWT layoff rumors have been circulating for quite some time (and were mentioned in Crain’s New York Business back in December). Before the holiday break, we asked the firm if it had any comment on the gossip. A CWT spokesperson told us: “Cadwalader does not respond to speculation concerning staff or operations.”
We’ve reached out to them for comment on these latest rumors, but we haven’t heard back from them. We assume their previous policy of not responding to rumors about internal operations remains in effect.
If you have any information to share, please email us. Thanks.
UPDATE: Cadwalader has confirmed to us that it is laying off 35 lawyers. We’ve just put up a new post with the firm’s official statement. Please comment in the new thread; we are closing this one. Thanks.

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