Dechert’s stealthiness when it comes to layoffs have been well documented in these pages. But it has been an open secret around the firm that another round of layoffs were coming. Above the Law has spoken to sources that have been talking about Dechert’s impending layoffs for nearly a month.
Today, the ax is finally falling. We don’t have official numbers (Dechert has ignored our numerous requests for comment), but we have information suggesting that around 25 associates are being let go today. In addition to the associates, other tipsters report that “a bunch” of paralegals have been laid off, as well as some staff attorneys and legal secretaries.
Sources report that the pain is being spread between Dechert’s Mass Torts and Product Liability group (about a dozen attorneys) and its general litigation practice (another dozen or so attorneys).
We also understand that the vast majority of cuts affected 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year lawyers.
Today’s moves are the culmination of weeks of planning at Dechert.
More details after the jump.
Information first started leaking out of Dechert a month ago. On June 22nd, a tipster reported:
Dechert plans on cutting 25 associates – first through third years. Paralegals and more senior associates to follow (though in the case of senior associates, the numbers will be lower).
But that move was delayed. Since Dechert hasn’t responded, we don’t know precisely why. But some sources believe that the cuts were delayed because Dechert made a high profile hire at the beginning of July. The firm hired Steve Bradbury, former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice. Thought the announcement was made on July 13th, sources report that there was internal disagreement at Dechert over the hire:
I hope it doesn’t go unnoticed that Steven Bradbury, the former head of the Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel is joining Dechert today. There was serious internal strife about hiring the man who sold his soul for torture, but no surprise, the forces of evil within the firm won the day.
Insiders at Dechert expected the layoff announcement to come just before, or just after the Bradbury announcement. But perhaps the firm needed to get everybody comfortable with the Bradbury decision before turning to layoffs?
Still, heading into this week it looked like the firm might have totally reconsidered the layoff decision. Just yesterday, we received a text message suggesting that the firm had backed off its plans to fire associates.
That might be because Dechert was honored with the Award for Excellence in Products Liability by Chambers USA earlier this month. It would be pretty cold to fire a bunch of products liabilities lawyers weeks after the department was honored for its excellent work.
But the hammer fell today. News about the layoffs started pouring into Above the Law from email, instant messages, and even over the phone.
Sources tell us that Dechert plans to make no official announcement about today’s layoffs. But we’ll keep you posted as we get more clarity on how many people were let go today.
Earlier: Dechert: Inside The Black Box
Dechert Ices 72 Staff Positions
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Dechert Cuts 19
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Dechert Fires 125