Jones Day has weathered the recession quite well. And they know it. And they want everybody else to know it.
The traditionally secretive firm has not been shy about slamming the business models of their competitors. You’ll remember this memo, written by D.C. partner Joe Sims, where he taunts Jones Day’s rivals:
[M]any of our peer competitors will come out weaker, not stronger. They may well protect their short-term financial metrics (although it will be interesting to see how we fare vs. the firms that slashed and burned), but they will pay a long-term price. Some of it is obvious: Firing staff and associates, or freezing associate salaries, or doing away with summer programs entirely makes it very clear to those groups that either that firm was not efficiently organized and managed before this crisis, or its first interest is protecting the owners’ incomes, not the various constituents that depend on the firm. While that is hardly un-American, it does tend to focus people’s minds on the fact that their firm clearly does not have their interests at the top of its agenda.
So, if Jones Day were to fire staff, would that make it “very clear” that JD isn’t efficiently organized?
Getting news out of Jones Day is notoriously difficult, but starting last week information started to leak out that Jones Day was firing staff in Dallas. The firm confirmed staff layoffs in Dallas and Los Angeles to the ABA Journal, yesterday:
Jones Day has laid off an unspecified number of support staffers in its Los Angeles and Dallas offices. Washington, D.C., partner Joe Sims tells the ABA Journal that about two-thirds of those laid off are secretarial workers, and the rest are other legal support staffers. Sims wouldn’t give out specific numbers laid off, citing a policy to keep the firm’s internal business operations confidential.
Our sources report the unspecified scope of the JD cuts:
16 staff members in LA – 20 something in Dallas last week.
Let’s return to the Joe Sims letter from August of last year:
[W]hile we have been forced by the circumstances to take some relatively minor steps to reduce our personnel expenses, we have not taken the easy way out by protecting partners’ incomes on the corpses of associates and staff…. The contrast with many other firms could not be clearer.
Today, Joe Sims is being forced to sing a slightly different tune:
“These [layoffs] were not performance or economic driven but simply rightsizing to be more effective,” he told the ABA Journal.
Are the corpses of Jones Day staff the only things that are being rightsized at the firm? Jones Day only copped to information that was already leaking out.
Let’s hope Jones Day associates are still safe.
Earlier: Jones Day Slams Its Competitors