Associate Bonus Watch 2007, Biglaw, Bonuses, Layoffs

Still More on the Cadwalader Layoffs

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft CWT Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid blog.JPGIn our earlier post about the layoffs at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, we praised the firm for its candor. Those of you who weren’t already in the profession when the last bubble burst may not recall that many firms, instead of being honest about dismissing associates for economic reasons, tried to cast them as performance-based. Firms should be commended for not taking that path.
But we do have some criticism for the firm as well. While we appreciate the firm sending us the news, it was not very classy to share the layoffs with the media before doing so internally. It’s not appropriate for associates to first learn about layoffs at their firm through a blog. As one tipster told us:

“Associates here at CWT are a little in shock right now since the firm has neglected to inform us of the layoffs through an intra-firm email.”

Now, in the firm’s defense, it appears that perhaps they want to provide such news in person. But even if they notify the affected associates individually and in person, they could at least have sent around a firm-wide email mentioning the overall action.
Some other random things we’ve been hearing, from different sources:

1. “As I write this to you, CWT laying off associates one by one… A friend of a friend just got the ax. It sounds dreadful there….”

2. “If you get laid off, no bonus. MEAN…”

3. The entire Corporate department is meeting today at 5:30 p.m.

4. “I bet most partners weren’t even told [about the layoffs]. That’s how it worked with the bonus announcement [recall the number-free bonus memo]. Most partners found out at the same time we did.”

5. “Nobody knows who the 35 are — whether they’re coming from NY or another office — or even what department.”

6. “I don’t think litigation is going to be affected by this. We have people from Global Finance down here doing doc review for us.”

There’s also lots of good stuff in the comments to our prior post. But we can’t vouch for the comments to the same extent that we can vouch for the information above (sent to us by trusted sources whose identities are known to us).
Update / Correction: Speaking of the comments, we have confirmed the truth of this comment:

No, you DO get a bonus, IF you made your hours. But the amount of that bonus is not known….

This is a big story, and we’ll be covering it extensively (so if you don’t find it interesting, you might want to take the day off from ATL — we have more traffic right now than our poor servers can handle). Expect an update later today.
If you’re at CWT and have firsthand information to share, please email us. If you’re afraid of your email being tracked, you can also reach us via Facebook message or AIM (our screen name is in our Facebook profile). Thanks.

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