A lot of pain has been dealt out to support staff at various law firms recently.
“There are no planned attorney layoffs,” said [Sheila Turner, a firm spokeswoman]. “But in these difficult times we of course expect to monitor the economy and staff the firm accordingly.”
Is the promise that Akin Gump won’t fire attorneys something that people can rely on? Don’t forget that Akin Gump is one of the few firms that admitted to rescinding offers to summer associates.
Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, the firm Ice Miller is making a two percent reduction in their workforce. Indiana Lawyer Daily reports:
“Over the last few months, we have been engaged in a thorough review of all aspects of our business operations in an effort to increase efficiencies and productivity to better serve our clients,” [Chief managing partner Byron Myers] said in the statement. “As a result of that review, we determined that we could consolidate some of our internal processes which resulted in much more efficient staffing requirements.”
This is the third firm in the past two months to cut support and administrative positions. Bose McKinney & Evans cut 11 support positions Jan. 9, almost 8 percent of its operational staff. It was a move that didn’t involve any attorneys but was something that law firm leaders said was necessary because of the economy.
Skadden joins the party after the jump.
There have been numerous reports about massive staff attorney layoffs at Skadden on Friday. Some tipsters claim that as many as half of Skadden’s staff attorneys were laid off last week. One tipster is reporting that Skadden laid off half of their staff attorneys. The tipster adds:
We each got 8 weeks severance plus unused vacation days, but this is besides the point. We made a boatload of money for the firm in 08, even those of us who were unassigned for large amounts of time. The partners who did the dirty work were particularly heartless about the deed. Nobody’s sure how they selected who went and who stayed, but take it from this tipster that they kept most of their slackers and fired most of the hard workers… Skad also fired a good number of legal assistants today, and some secretaries in past weeks…
Tipsters report that the layoffs were focused in NYC and DC. Skadden explains the moves this way:
The Staff Attorney position was created and designed to absorb peak demands. The economic turmoil has required us to reassess that level of support, nevertheless more than half of our Staff Attorneys remain with the Firm. No associates were affected in this readjustment. The diversity and scope of our practices and our geographic footprint put us in a relatively strong position but these economic times have created new challenges and tough choices for almost all firms, and ours is no exception.
We know a lot of staff attorneys and support staff read ATL. Don’t hesitate to let us know how you are dealing with the economic downturn.
Akin Gump to Cut 65 Staff; ‘No Planned Attorney Layoffs’ [WSJ Law Blog]
Firm cuts 2 percent of workforce [Indiana Lawyer Daily]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of staff layoffs