We are now firmly into the “second round” of law firm layoffs. We are increasingly dealing with firms who already laid people off in late 2008 or early 2009 who have to go back and make more cuts as the economic outlook continues to worsen.
But, in a rare move, White & Case sent around an internal memo announcing that partners would be next on the chopping block:
These measures follow a thorough, strategic review of our business, including discussions with our Regional Section Heads, Global Practice Leaders and Office Executive Partners.
It is clear from this review that the deterioration of the global economy will continue to affect our clients and their demand for our services for the foreseeable future. As a result, we are planning the following actions:
• An evaluation of our partnership, which will result in a reduction in the number of our partners, commensurate with current and anticipated business needs.
And many incoming White & Case first years will have to find something else to do this fall:
• Deferring the start date of about 60% of this year’s incoming associate class in the United States until 2010. Incoming associates who are not deferred will join the Firm on November 2, 2009.
How terrible are the projections for 2009? And how many more rounds of layoffs do we have to go?
White & Case brings us to 731 associates and staff laid off today. What a bloody, black, March Monday.
Read the full statement after the jump.
WHITE & CASE — STATEMENT — LAYOFFS
Following a thorough, strategic review of its business, White & Case LLP announced today a number of measures that will allow the Firm to respond to changing demand in the market for legal services.
These actions include an evaluation of its partnership, which will result in a reduction in the number of partners, commensurate with current and anticipated business needs.
The Firm is also implementing a global workforce reduction of about 200 associates and 200 administrative and business support staff. These reductions will vary by region and practice, based upon the needs of the business. In accordance with local labor laws, the Firm will follow a consultative process in some offices. Those affected will be offered a competitive severance package, as well as other support services to assist them through this transition.
In addition, the Firm is deferring the start date of approximately 60% of this year’s incoming associate class in the US until 2010. Incoming associates who are not deferred will join the Firm on November 2, 2009.
The Firm will also continue its focused reduction of operating expenses around the world.
These proposed actions will enable the Firm to better align resources and capabilities to address current and anticipated client demand.
White & Case Chairman Hugh Verrier said: “I greatly regret having to take these actions. The decision was made only after a very careful review of our business. I believe these measures provide the best way forward to meet the challenges we face today and to ensure the Firm’s long-term success.”