Layoffs

Nationwide Layoff Watch: Kirkland & Ellis Chicago

kirkland ellis logo.JPGLast week, news broke about layoffs at Kirkland & Ellis. The firm has not released an official statement about the layoffs. A Kirkland source says that associates not on track to make partner were let go. Since the firm won’t say, we’ve been trying to cobble together the full extent of Kirkland’s layoffs. We’ve already reported on layoffs in New York, D.C., and San Francisco.
Just before Labor Day weekend, Kirkland & Ellis got around to making layoffs at its main office in Chicago. We are still gathering numbers, but as of now we know that at least 12 people were let go. Other tipsters suggest that the number is higher.
Did these layoffs fit in with K&E’s performance review philosophy? After the jump, tipsters weigh in.


Our sources say that Kirkland’s Chicago layoffs focused on first years:

At least a dozen first-year associates were laid off, including a disproportionate number in IP. … [I]t was a total bloodbath.

IP and corporate were not the places to be if you wanted to keep your job at K&E:

I heard from a friend in corporate who was laid off that they got rid of 50% of the corporate first years and a third of corporate overall. They got rid of every first year in the soft IP litigation group.

It’s hard to know what kind of performance review will get you canned after just a few months at the firm. Does Kirkland really want everybody to believe that they hired 12 attorneys who were so bad at their job that they had to be let go just months after starting work?
One source took issue with the way Kirkland handled this round of layoffs:

Bury layoffs before a long weekend? Check.
Fire first years? Check.
Convince the world that you hired terrible attorneys? Check.
Kirkland’s reputation? Worthless!!

If you add the numbers, it’s starting to look like the extent of Kirkland’s layoffs were fairly significant. At least 20 associates were let go in New York. At least 10 in San Francisco. A dozen (and counting) in Chicago. And more layoffs in Washington, D.C., and Palo Alto.
We’ll keep you posted as more layoff news rolls in.
Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Kirkland Closes Down 20 NY Associates

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