Thacher Proffitt & Wood has been struggling for some time. A memo sent by managing partner Paul Tvetenstrand to TPW staff the Wednesday before Thanksgiving provides the latest evidence of the firm’s faltering state:
From: Paul D. Tvetenstrand
To: Non-legal staff
As you are aware. The past year has posed many challenges for the firm given the downturn in the economic climate which has affected our clients and ultimately the firm. Unfortunately given this continuing downturn the firm will not be able to pay any bonuses or year end service awards this year. We truly appreciate the contributions each of you has made in these trying times and we wish we were able to recognize each of you as you deserve.
I’m not at all sure why TPW tried to bury this information within the Thanksgiving news cycle. Did they think TPW staffers were not going to notice? Maybe they were thinking of maintaining their industry reputation, but most people who have been paying attention already know that TPW is in serious trouble.
More TPW back story after the jump.
ATL has documented all of TPW’s recent woes. Once you get beyond the “process story” concerning the timing of this announcement, the economics of the decision seem pretty obvious. The firm is losing partners, closing offices, and firing associates. Staff bonuses would seem ridiculous given the financial state of the firm.
Industry wide, this probably isn’t going to be a year where support staff receive bonuses or end-of-the-year service rewards.
But does this move open the door for TPW to dole out zero in associate bonuses? Probably. TPW was already on the dissolution watch list, and this announcement is really just a confirmation of the firm’s struggles.
You’d imagine that most TPW associates (and staff) aren’t worried about their year-end bonus; they are worried about having jobs after the new year.