We’ve gotten credible information that Fried Frank has laid off at least 15 associates from their corporate department, including 6 in the real estate practice group. A tipster collects the information in a clear way:
They are veiled as performance-based reviews, but virtually everyone is getting a negative review (mostly, it seems, to justify in a paper-trail [a decision] to not give bonuses)….
There has been no formal review process announced, and no one knows what directive came from management last weekend at the partner retreat, but it seems that each group was told to make cuts. People were completely taken off guard when they started getting calls earlier in the week calling them in for their reviews, some of which dredged up years-old information to use as justification for lay-offs, and many of which lasted only 5 minutes or so. Most of the layoffs have been mid-level associates and up, but most junior associates have not yet been reviewed.
The axe is expected to fall on the litigation side of the firm today.
The firm has not responded to voice messages or emails left earlier today. The number of layoffs could be higher than what we are reporting, but right now the best number is 15.
We understand that a three-month severance package has been offered.
Every single tipster (and there are a lot of them) said that the laid-off attorneys were told that they were being let go for performance reasons.
But that’s not all they were told. Read the rest, after the jump.
We’re not holding our breath on an official firm statement. According to one tipster:
I doubt you will get a statement from the firm because the partners promised the corporate department and the real estate department in separate meetings that there would not be layoffs. Our chairwoman said, “Fried Frank doesn’t do lawyer layoffs.”
In addition, we’ve received multiple tips that all of the laid off attorneys were directly told: “don’t talk about this to Above The Law.”
Luckily for us, corporate control over information is hard to maintain when you’ve just showed a bunch of people the door.
As usual, cuts are also taking a toll on staff. We understand that the entire copy room staff in Fried Frank’s D.C. office was let go Wednesday. All of them. Apparently, their jobs were outsourced. The copy room staff was given a week’s notice. If you do the math, that means that their last day will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Reaction from Fried Frank attorneys about all of the carnage has been swift:
The reason for the layoff is pretty clear and are understandable: the firm’s corporate and real estate practices, which were the firm’s bread and butter and are well-regarded, have slowed with the market. However, at the last corporate meeting the department head said corporate revenues were only down 8% from projections. I understand the firm is a business, but then again, they were pretty sneaky about it today. I think it would have been better to have a firmwide meeting, but the firm has always been pretty opaque about things like this. I’m disappointed with the partners because some very loyal associates were fired. It’s a sad day.
It’s been a sad day for the entire legal community for over a month.
Fried Frank litigation associates, let us know how things go today.
And, as many commenters have already pointed out, if you’re an associate, you should keep your “head on a swivel” today. Today is the last day firms can lay people off without getting slammed for “firing people during the holidays.”
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of layoffs