We really don’t know why everybody is so certain that Dechert is laying off a massive number of people. 20, 50, “nearly 100 attorneys,” no number seems too high or outrageous to post in the comments when it comes to Dechert’s “stealth” layoffs.
Clearly the firm is going through some kind of reorganization process, but there haven’t been any official “layoffs” since March.
But with all this smoke, there is bound to be a little bit of fire.
Read Dechert’s official response to the rumors after the jump.
According to a Dechert spokesperson:
Performance reviews are taking place now and some associates will be encouraged to move on. There have been no layoffs since those announced in March. Business is down in some areas, but strong in most. In response, we have reassigned 20 lawyers from our structured finance practice to other areas. Our associate headcount is up in the United States this year, and we are actively recruiting in several places.
To parse that statement further, it seems clear that some attorneys have lost their jobs. But — much like a “cold offer” — “being asked to move on” is substantively different from being fired. At least then you can credibly say “I’m looking for a new challenge” or something. If you get fired, then you are just one of a number of attorneys out there trying to find something to pay the bills.
The flip side is that if you can’t “move-on” and they do fire you, the “performance review” rhetoric is not at all helpful.
The bottom line has to be that the Dechert “bloodbath” has been somewhat overstated. Is everything going great over there? Probably not. But we’re not talking about Cadwalader.
At least not yet.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of layoffs