Layoffs, Salary Cuts, Start Dates

Nationwide Layoff Watch: Seyfarth Shaw Cuts 50, Cuts Salaries, Cuts Back on Summer Program

Seyfarth Shaw logo.jpgSeyfarth Shaw just announced an extensive “hybrid tough love” package. The firm is laying off employees as well as cutting salaries. It is also reducing the length of the summer program and pushing back start dates.

According to a firm wide memo, 50 people will be let go:

Today, we have completed a reduction in attorneys and staff of approximately 50 people out of approximately 1,600 people nationwide. These reductions are spread across all offices and practice groups. We deeply regret the need to take these steps. The people affected are our friends and co-workers who have made contributions to the growth of the Firm. We have reached out to every affected person prior to the distribution of this e-mail.

We cannot predict the future but, as we said above, it is our goal by taking this step to avoid any further reductions in positions for the remainder of the year. We know that we will be asking each of you to take on additional responsibilities. We thank you in advance for your continued efforts on behalf of our clients and the Firm.

Seyfarth laid off 30 people back in December, and another 30 people in January. Hopefully, this is the last time layoff survivors will have to worry about their jobs. At least for this year.

After the jump, we get to the other news.


Salary Cuts.jpgSeyfarth’s new salary structure is another indication that the salary cut movement could just be starting:

Effective May 16, we will be reducing salaries for segments of our associate and income partner team members. While not all people in those categories will be affected, some salaries will be reduced between 5% and 20% prospectively. Our Office Managing Partners or local LDC chairs have contacted, or attempted to contact, all affected associates.

The statement from the firm makes the point that full equity partners are sharing in the salary reduction pain:

Our Firm is in solid financial condition. With the additional measures described below, we believe that the profits of the Firm will decline by 5% to 7%. While we recognize that this may not seem like much when measured against the general predictions for our industry (down on average 10% to 15%) or by the challenges faced by many of our clients and friends; nevertheless, it does have an impact on our equity partners.

Do associates at Seyfarth feel like they are in this together with the partners?

Summers and incoming first-year associates are taking the expected hit:

We have informed our incoming associate class that their start dates will be deferred until 2010. We have also shortened our summer program and reduced the compensation structure for our summer associates.

The remaining staff should expect “keeping their jobs” to be the only bonus this year:

Finally, along with a variety of other expense reduction efforts, we will forgo the normal staff compensation increase typically put into effect in August.

When will the bad news stop?

Good luck to those affected by today’s decision at Seyfarth.

Read the full memo below.

Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Seyfarth Shaw Lays Off 30 Attorneys

Nationwide Staff Layoff Watch: Seyfarth Shaw

Prior ATL coverage of salary cuts

SEYFARTH SHAW — MEMO — ECONOMIC CONDITIONS

Response to Economic Conditions – A Note from the Executive Committee

We are living through extraordinary economic times.

As you know, despite the challenges of the economy last year, we were able to improve the financial health of the Firm. We also completed the first quarter of this year ahead of our budget. These are unusual results in this economy and reflect the hard work and commitment of many people in the Firm. Nevertheless, the global economy continues to present challenges in 2009, signaling profound and fundamental changes in the world and for our clients. We need to recognize, anticipate and adapt to those changes.

We exist in partnership with our clients. The economic environment they must navigate is increasingly difficult. As a result, a number of clients have asked us to help them reduce costs with actions, such as freezing or reducing rates, finding different ways to perform services at lower overall costs, or by deferring or delaying projects. This puts downward pressure on the revenue of the Firm, requiring us to think differently about how we operate. Simply put, this means that we must become leaner and reduce our expenses.

Our Firm is in solid financial condition. With the additional measures described below, we believe that the profits of the Firm will decline by 5% to 7%. While we recognize that this may not seem like much when measured against the general predictions for our industry (down on average 10% to 15%) or by the challenges faced by many of our clients and friends; nevertheless, it does have an impact on our equity partners.

Throughout the first months of the year, we have steadily implemented a number of changes designed to reduce expenses. We are taking additional actions now that, while consistent with steps taken by many firms, are nevertheless difficult; however, we believe they are appropriate and prudent responses to these extraordinary economic times. Our objective is to implement these actions at this time with the belief and intention that we will not need to take similar steps in the future.

1. Today, we have completed a reduction in attorneys and staff of approximately 50 people out of approximately 1,600 people nationwide. These reductions are spread across all offices and practice groups. We deeply regret the need to take these steps. The people affected are our friends and co-workers who have made contributions to the growth of the Firm. We have reached out to every affected person prior to the distribution of this e-mail.

We cannot predict the future but, as we said above, it is our goal by taking this step to avoid any further reductions in positions for the remainder of the year. We know that we will be asking each of you to take on additional responsibilities. We thank you in advance for your continued efforts on behalf of our clients and the Firm.

2. Effective May 16, we will be reducing salaries for segments of our associate and income partner team members. While not all people in those categories will be affected, some salaries will be reduced between 5% and 20% prospectively. Our Office Managing Partners or local LDC chairs have contacted, or attempted to contact, all affected associates.

3. We have informed our incoming associate class that their start dates will be deferred until 2010. We have also shortened our summer program and reduced the compensation structure for our summer associates.

4. Finally, along with a variety of other expense reduction efforts, we will forgo the normal staff compensation increase typically put into effect in August.

We believe that these actions allow us to move forward with confidence. Driven by the Firm’s core values and practice mix and coupled with the commitment of each of us, we will continue the Firm’s historic pattern of success.

We will be having office-level meetings to give each of you the opportunity to ask questions or raise any concerns or issues you may have. Thank you for your understanding and continued support for the Firm.

64 comments
(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments

Our Sites

  • Above the Law
  • How Appealing
  • ATL Redline
  • Breaking Defense
  • Breaking Energy
  • Breaking Gov
  • Dealbreaker
  • Fashonista
  •