Stealth Layoffs Open Thread: Latham & Watkins

Latham Watkins LLP lw logo.jpgReaders, commenters, and tipsters have all demanded that we run a post addressing the “stealth layoffs” that might be taking place at Latham & Watkins.

The firm has remained steadfast in its contention that no layoffs have happened at Latham & Watkins. They claim no dismissals for economic reasons, or anything out of the ordinary course of business. A firm spokesperson told ATL:

Consistent with our standard practice at the end of each year, we have completed our associate review process. We counsel our associates at the completion of our review process each year, and in those conferences discuss topics such as job performance, compensation and career tracks. Our decisions relating to associate departures were performance related and part of our usual year-end process, not part of an economic layoff.

But how many associate departures have there been? Based on information from our sources, the number of cuts is all over the map. ATL has received reports from tipsters in New York, Chicago, Silicon Valley, and L.A. that Latham has been conducting stealth layoffs. But because of the way they are being carried out, nobody knows just how many associates have been let go over the past few weeks.

Tipsters report that the process has every artifice of “performance review” cuts, but those same tipsters claim the cuts are economic based. Against the backdrop of the firm statement, after the jump we post some of the tipsters’ reports.

Regardless of why associates are leaving, we can at least all agree that we are not talking about voluntary departures:

Both the partner from the Associates Committee and the Office Managing Partner show up to your office door when you are scheduled for your performance review.

Tipsters report that the appearance of the managing partner of that office at their door is how they know that their time at Latham is up. According to associates we’ve corresponded with, firm representatives tell associates that the layoffs are “business decisions.”

Associates are given a three month severance package.

Many tipsters who have been laid off by Latham are complaining more about the manner in which they were fired, rather than the objective reality of their termination. By not making it public or calling the layoffs performance-based, they feel that all of their former friends and colleagues are left with the unmistakable impression that they are “bad lawyers” who didn’t work very hard.

Some tipsters feel that the reason Latham is firing people secretly is that the “performance review” logic wouldn’t hold up to close scrutiny:

They won’t tell anyone we’ve been canned, because they exaggerated … the negative aspects of our performance reviews.

Some tipsters claim that Latham will not even read the negative reviews back to displaced associates. Other tipsters say that they can have their reviews read back to them, but there is nothing negative in them that explains how they performed poorly.

A number of tipsters claim that Dave Gordon, managing partner of L&W’s New York office, previously said:

If Latham lays people off, we will not add insult to injury by calling it performance based.

A tipster who writes in with the same story about Gordon says:

Nonetheless… here we are…

Good luck to all the former Latham people who have joined the unemployment club.

Earlier: Nationwide Pay Freeze Watch: Latham & Watkins

Prior ATL coverage of law firm layoffs

ATL Law Firm Directory
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