The pace of law firm layoffs has apparently slowed to a crawl. We’ll go weeks between job losses at large law firms (that we know of). But, here and there, some people are still getting pushed out as firms retool for the new economy.
Sadly, legal secretaries at Dewey & LeBoeuf became the latest casualties of a layoff cycle that seems very close to its end. The firm-wide memo went out earlier today:
Beginning last week and concluding today the firm implemented a reduction in force impacting approximately 30 administrative staff positions in its Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., offices.
Nobody wants to be the last person KIA in a war, and nobody wants to be laid off at the tail end of a recession. Why did Dewey make the move this late (hopefully) in the recession?
The Dewey memo goes on to say:
Last year, in response to the unprecedented challenges that the global economy created for law firms, we took steps to manage our administrative staffing model. We have been largely successful in realigning our resources while at the same time maintaining adequate administrative support. Nevertheless, despite positive economic signs we are now seeing, we have come to the difficult decision that certain follow-on changes are necessary, primarily to ensure that secretarial ratios appropriately reflect current business needs. These changes are made necessary by an overall reduction in lawyer headcount.
These decisions are not taken lightly and come only after very careful consideration. The firm values the contributions of all these individuals and will provide those impacted with a comprehensive separation package. I ask that everyone show their support for their colleagues during this challenging time.
Stephen DiCarmine, Esq.
Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP
No lawyers were laid off during this round of cuts. And a spokesperson for Dewey noted that this move was intended solely to bring staffing levels into balance with the number of attorneys that the firm has on board.
We former Dewey people are dropping like flies…. I hope [former Dewey Ballantine co-chair] Mort Pierce is happy with the merger, which was more like a takeover!
Of course, that merger happened over two years ago. Surely the firm isn’t still dealing with legacy issues. Right?