• 03 Nov 2008 at 10:33 AM
  • Uncategorized

Happy Time at DLA Piper

DLA Piper logo Above the Law blog.jpgLast week, we reported that DLA Piper was canceling their Chicago holiday party and laying off a number of staffers. As we’ve seen from many other firms, when times are tough and morale is low — it’s time for a “Yay Us” firm-wide email:

We wanted to share with you some thoughts we recently provided the partners about the impact of the current market difficulties on the Firm, this year and beyond. The short answer is that the Firm is strong and well positioned and that we are confident about its future. That said, we thought it would be helpful to give you our assessment of the current economic situation and how we need to and are responding to it.

You wonder how the 15 staffers who were laid off feel about the firm’s future? But we must applaud firms who talk straight with associates. Unlike the message from Chadbourne & Parke, DLA Piper didn’t bury a stealth hiring freeze in their letter.

As far as our strategy is concerned, we continue to believe that we are well positioned, and better positioned than most. … That said, the days of business as usual are over. We must work harder than ever to control expenses and we must be aggressive in the identification and pursuit of new business opportunities created by recent developments. In many respects we have already made significant progress, but there is much more to do and each of you should be thinking about the clients with whom you have relationships who would benefit from our help in these areas.

As many of you know, DLA Piper is a behemoth of a law firm. They claim 3,700 lawyers worldwide. That sounds like a lot of mouths to feed. But with over 1,000 partners, perhaps their size is a strength?

In any event, one of the biggest law firms in the world is telling their army of associates that everything is going to be alright.

Read the full memo after the jump.


DLA PIPER — MEMO — INTERESTING TIMES

We wanted to share with you some thoughts we recently provided the partners about the impact of the current market difficulties on the Firm, this year and beyond. The short answer is that the Firm is strong and well positioned and that we are confident about its future. That said, we thought it would be helpful to give you our assessment of the current economic situation and how we need to and are responding to it.

The events of the last several months have shaken the very foundations of the world’s financial system. This “perfect storm” caught everyone by surprise, from the leaders of major financial institutions, to the Fed, the Treasury, the SEC and the SROs. The volatility we have seen and continue to see in both the equity and debt markets is unprecedented, and everyone is anxious, including clients and their advisors.

Many of our clients are facing declining revenues and margins and capital is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive. As we have long said, the forces that shape the fortunes of our clients have clear implications for us, and we must continue to evaluate our strategy and our business model in light of those forces. The current thinking (including ours) is that we are not likely to see a substantial, sustained correction until late 2009, or even later. As we all manage the firm forward, every decision must necessarily reflect that market reality.

As far as our strategy is concerned, we continue to believe that we are well positioned, and better positioned than most. The truly global nature of the Firm is a distinct advantage and it is hard to replicate. Recent events demonstrate, as compellingly as the bull market did, that the economy is global and there will be no reversal of that trend. Second, the size and diversification of the Firm’s client base and revenue base and of its market coverage is also an important asset and differentiator. That said, the days of business as usual are over. We must work harder than ever to control expenses and we must be aggressive in the identification and pursuit of new business opportunities created by recent developments. In many respects we have already made significant progress, but there is much more to do and each of you should be thinking about the clients with whom you have relationships who would benefit from our help in these areas.

While we will continue to monitor spending carefully, we must and will continue to invest in strategically important areas, as we have over the past several years, and we will do so with the knowledge that in some cases the return on those investments will be longer term. We are convinced that, given where we are in our evolution, the most important determinant of our success going forward will be the sophistication and quality of our professionals and our practices. There are still gaps in areas of expertise which we see as essential to the long term success of the Firm, and we must continue to strive to fill them.

The bottom line is that, while the environment presents big challenges, we are confident that we are on the right path, that we will continue to prosper and that we will come through this period stronger in every respect, and even better positioned for the future.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the Firm and to working with us through this challenging environment.

Earlier: DLA Piper Chicago Cancels Christmas/Staffers

Hiring Freeze at Chadbourne & Parke Adventures In Burying The Lead


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