If you’re a lawyer who managed to make your way into a large law firm, congratulations. For attorneys, the world of Biglaw seems to be somewhat stable. Revenue and profits are up by modest amounts, and it has been a while since we’ve seen major lawyer layoffs (setting aside the collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf, of course).
Things have not been so happy for staff. Over the past year or so, we’ve covered staff layoffs at several prominent Biglaw firms. Many of these reductions appear to be fueled by either outsourcing or improvements in technology that allow firms to get by with fewer staff.
The latest firm with news of staff layoffs — and unconfirmed reports of lawyer layoffs — is Fish & Richardson. Fish is a leading intellectual property shop, and the world of IP litigation certainly seems busy these days. But maybe it’s not busy enough?
Let’s get the details on the recent cuts at Fish….
Multiple sources report support staff layoffs at Fish. We don’t have all the details, in terms of numbers or departments affected, but it seems that firm parted with some paralegals:
At least a dozen paralegals let go at Fish & Richardson, firmwide. No notice. No explanation. Some really good people.
[F]olks with seniority were given zero warning and shipped out immediately, so morale is pretty low among remaining staff and associates.
Ah yes, associates. Have any of them been affected by the reduction in force? Yes, according to one source:
Seem to be a lot of stealth associate / junior partner layoffs coming to light, now that people are checking the firm directory to see who survived the cut and who didn’t.
Rumors that there was going to be a firm-wide email, but management was concerned it would make it to ATL….
That rumor might be true, since Fish doesn’t seem eager to speak with us. We’ve reached out repeatedly to Liz Cerasuolo, the firm’s director of communications, but she has not gotten back to us yet. We will update this post if and when we hear from the firm.
In fairness to Fish & Richardson, we suspect that it’s not the only firm that is quietly letting go of staffers and even lawyers. If you have information to share with us, about layoffs at Fish or any other major firm, please email us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Layoffs”) or text us (646-820-8477 / 646-820-TIPS). Thanks.
UPDATE (8/3/2012): Fish confirmed the staff layoffs in a statement:
Fish & Richardson said that it was laying off 14 staff members. In a publicly issued statement, the law firm said, “While our caseload continues to grow, client demands for more cost efficiency meant that we needed fewer support personnel for cases than we did in the past.” The 14 staff being laid off includes paralegals and litigation support staff positions.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of staff layoffs