Biglaw, Husch Blackwell, Layoffs, Midsize Firms / Regional Firms

Nationwide Layoff Watch: Husch Blackwell

Wow. It’s been a long time since I wrote a headline starting with the words “Nationwide Layoff Watch.” But today it’s appropriate. Above the Law has learned that Husch Blackwell let go of around 20 attorneys, associates and non-equity partners, earlier last month.

We heard rumblings that Husch was planning on making cuts as far back as this July, but it appears that the layoffs only went through in September. Thanks to our sources, some of whom contacted us on our new text message line (646-820-TIPS), we’ve now received multiple reports of layoffs at the firm.

Here’s one tipster’s report:

Husch recently gave pink slips to about 20 attorneys; a number of them are non-equity partners. The sole criteria for termination is last year’s billable hours.

Husch didn’t confirm the number of attorneys let go, but a spokesperson for the firm did give Above the Law a statement…

Sources told us that the layoffs were prompted by a 5% projected revenue shortfall for the firm, but the firm spokesperson denied that there was any reason to worry about Husch’s financials:

Your sources are incorrect regarding our revenues. While we do not discuss specific financial information, I can tell you that our revenue numbers are currently above budget projections for the year.

Well, good for them. It is, however, what we expected the firm to say. Remember, when Husch Blackwell laid off 17 associates and 45 staff back in 2009, the firm chairman discussed the news by saying business was “going gangbusters” in certain areas of the firm.

This time around, Husch Blackwell used more measured tones when discussing its layoffs:

As is our firm’s practice, we constantly monitor our attorney staffing to match the level of experience, expertise and depth necessary to service our clients’ workload needs over the coming months. At times, that includes adding lawyers and sometimes reducing our ranks.

We have, recently, added three lateral attorney hires, and on Sept. 7 we welcomed 16 fall associates.

I doubt 16 new associates can replace a bunch of laid-off partners in terms of providing legal services, but they sure as hell don’t cost as much. Especially since bonus time for all those senior people is just around the corner.

In any event, good luck to the former Husch Blackwell attorneys. The legal job market is much better now than it was 18 months ago. Hopefully you will all land on your feet.

Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Midwest Firms Have Lawyers, Fire Them Too

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