Back in May, Drinker Biddle came up with a radically different program for first years. For the first six months, first years at Drinker are more like apprentices than traditional first years. They get intensive training, but are only paid $105,000.
Despite those changes, the firm has still decided to lay off attorneys. Multiple tipsters report that 22 Drinker Biddle associates were laid off yesterday.
Drinker Biddle spokespeople did not comment about the news. But tipsters report that the significant cut to first year salary did not end up saving the jobs of more senior associates.
Details on departments and offices and an update after the jump.
The majority of the layoffs took place in Drinker’s Chicago office. But people were also laid off in Philadelphia. Associates have been given a three month severance package and they will still have access to their offices.
The cuts come after Drinker Biddle gave out a 68% offer rate to their 2009 summer class.
As far as we can tell, the associates that were laid off were in the corporate department or tax. Litigation associates appeared to be safe.
Apparently, some law firm problems can’t be fixed by cutting first year salaries.
Update: Drinker Biddle still won’t confirm the layoffs on the record. But Drinker will be holding a firm wide associates meeting next Wednesday to discuss its decision and its move away from lockstep compensation. Here’s the email firm associates received this morning:
As you likely have heard by now, the firm has decided to transition from a year-based to a competency-based system of associate advancement effective February 1, 2010. We are scheduling a meeting for all associates on Wednesday, November 4, at 4 p.m. EST / 3 p.m. CST / 1 p.m. PST to discuss the new merit-based system, which reorganizes all associates into four “levels” based on achievement of certain competencies instead of groupings by law school class or tenure at the firm.
The meetings will occur in the following locations, via videoconference:
If you cannot attend any of these videoconference locations, please contact [Redacted] for teleconference information.