Biglaw, Lateral Moves, Layoffs, Media and Journalism, Summer Associates, Wall Street Journal

Nationwide Layoff Watch: More Cadwalader Coverage
(Because You Just Can’t Get Enough, It Seems)

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft CWT Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid blog.JPGWe resume our wall-to-wall coverage of the recent associate layoffs at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Here are the latest news articles and tidbits:
1. Highlights from an article by Anthony Lin, in the New York Law Journal:

[M]ost of the laid-off lawyers worked in Cadwalader’s New York headquarters though the firm’s Charlotte, N.C., office was also affected. All were in the firm’s global finance and capital markets practices. Almost all of the affected lawyers were associates, said [management committee member Gregory] Markel, though he said one or two counsel may also have been let go.

[Per Markel:] “We concluded that this was not a three-month phenomenon or even a six-month phenomenon.”

Mr. Markel also said the firm was confident there would be no more layoffs in the future. After yesterday’s action, the firm will still have around 260 lawyers in the two affected practices.

A number of law firms active in the area have already announced cutbacks. Clifford Chance terminated a six-lawyer group in November. Thacher Proffitt & Wood and McKee Nelson both have offered buyouts to large numbers of associates working in the area.

2. Highlights from an article by Nathan Koppel, in the Wall Street Journal (via the Law Blog):

“We were very careful about this, and we waited to see if there were any signs of the economy turning around” before letting lawyers go, says Cadwalader partner Gregory Markel, chairman of the firm’s litigation department. “We didn’t see any evidence of this turning around.”

Cadwalader is one of the most prominent law firms to recently announce layoffs, which could trigger a chain reaction among other firms; capital markets and real-estate practices are down at many firms.

It is still relatively rare for large law firms to engage in mass staff reductions. For one, many large law firms boast specialties, such as litigation and bankruptcy, that typically pick up during down economies.

3. From an observant tipster not at CWT (and presumably happy about it):

“CWT apparently doesn’t update its lateral recruiting page very often, as it currently claims to be looking for structured finance and capital markets attorneys in several offices. See here.”

4. From a source at the firm, an interesting theory about how the news was disseminated, including a possible explanation for why it wasn’t announced announced internally first:

[A] partner in Corporate leaked all this information about the Capital Markets situation to a bunch of associates. Some of it was false, some true. [Management was] really upset with him because they wanted this information to come in an official announcement or meeting, not in rumors flying around.

I’m thinking they accelerated the press announcement because the information started leaking to outside sources, rather than staying inside. I still definitely think that they could have released it internally first, but there may have been other circumstances that I don’t know about. I am not sure if the press release and the corporate partner things are related, but it seems like they would not have released it so abruptly if it didn’t happen. Whenever something major happens, it is usually disclosed internally first.

5. Finally, in case you missed it — we posted it fairly late yesterday, as a mere update to a previously published post — here is CWT’s reassuring email to 2007 summer associates who accepted their offers to return full-time.
Cadwalader Laying Off 35 In Wake of Slumping Markets [New York Law Journal]
Law Firm Cadwalader To Lay Off 35 Attorneys [Wall Street Journal]
More on the Sackings at Cadwalader [WSJ Law Blog]

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