In case you are wondering, this is going to be a bad day for associates and staff working in Biglaw. We’ve already seen big layoffs at Dechert and Bryan Cave. And we’re sitting on even more bad news (waiting on additional sources). But we just received official confirmation from Goodwin Procter that significant cuts are taking place today.
The firm is telling us that 74 people have been let go. Goodwin gave ATL this statement — which was also sent out to all Goodwin employees moments ago:
After careful deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our attorney and professional staff work force. We are reducing our associate ranks by 38 people and our staff ranks by 36 people, resulting in a reduction of approximately 4% in each group. The attorneys affected include associates and professional track attorneys and the staff affected include paralegals, secretaries and administrative staff.
People have been suggesting that Goodwin have been conducting stealth layoffs for months, but the firm has repeatedly denied those rumors.
Instead, Goodwin people maintained that the firm would openly announce layoffs, should they occur. Here, it would seem, is that announcement.
Check out Goodwin’s full statement after the jump.
GOODWIN PROCTER — STATEMENT — LAYOFFS
Although we entered fiscal 2009 with cautious optimism, a number of the client areas that we serve continue to face serious challenges due to the global economic downturn. We are clearly in an unprecedented economic environment. It is now apparent that this downturn will be deeper and broader than past recessions, and all business sectors will be adversely affected in some way. While Goodwin Procter is fundamentally strong and healthy, we – like most law firms – are not immune to the effects of this recession. Our transactional practices, in particular, have seen a decline in demand for legal services that unfortunately does not show signs of improving in the near term.
As a result, after careful deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our attorney and professional staff work force. We are reducing our associate ranks by 38 people and our staff ranks by 36 people, resulting in a reduction of approximately 4% in each group. The attorneys affected include associates and professional track attorneys and the staff affected include paralegals, secretaries and administrative staff.
Most of the individuals affected are in the Business Law Department and are based in Boston and New York, our two largest offices. However, both departments and virtually all offices will be impacted to some degree.
As you would expect, we are providing comprehensive severance packages, transition support and career counseling services to the individuals who are affected. In addition, we are pursuing all available channels to assist our employees in finding new jobs, including our network of
clients and alumni.
I want to assure you that this decision was not made lightly. Ultimately, after weighing many factors, we determined that we would need to reduce our headcount to ensure that we could provide meaningful work and development opportunities to the greatest number of lawyers and
other professional staff. Weighing heavily in our decision was the uncertain length of this downturn. If we believed that an economic turnaround was imminent, or even within sight, we would not have come to this difficult decision.
I am grateful for the hard work and contributions that all of our attorneys and staff have made to the firm and our clients. The strength of Goodwin Procter is due in no small part to the extraordinary talent and commitment of our people. I believe that the difficult actions that have been announced today will enable the firm to remain strong and to provide the robust professional development experience that is deserved by all of our lawyers and professional staff.
This is an enormously challenging time, and I know that many of you will have questions and concerns. We will be scheduling firmwide and officewide meetings tomorrow. Information regarding those meetings will follow shortly. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me, or your department chairs or office leaders.