At the end of May, my colleague David Lat wondered, “Are layoffs becoming daily news in Biglaw once again?” Given recent events — in particular, the reckoning at Weil — we think it’s now fair to answer that question with a resounding yes.
Today, we’ve got news that a Biglaw shop known for its strict dress code and its fervent recruiting of Supreme Court clerks has decided to conduct a second round of layoffs, mere months after serving a slew of staffers with their walking papers…
As you may have guessed, the firm in question is Jones Day. We’ve recently received reports of staff layoffs in both their Cleveland and New York offices. This time, the affected individuals include personnel from the firm’s IT operations center and secretarial staff in New York. Last time, JD laid off just 14 staffers. This time, the number has grown by epic proportions, rising to a startling 65. Along with the staff layoffs, IT director Michael Fick is walking out after a ten-year stint with the firm, as reported by Alison Grant of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who covered the cuts.
Much like these unlucky staffers will have to do with their lives, Jones Day is referring to these layoffs as a “reorganization.” Talk about unfortunate phrasing. Here’s a statement from the firm:
[W]e have determined that a reorganized technology function will improve both the effectiveness and the cost of our services to clients. We have today announced that reorganization, which includes a realigned management structure and the elimination of 65 positions around the Firm.
We realize that changes of this nature are difficult and disruptive to the individuals impacted. We will provide appropriate severance and outplacement support to all affected staff to assist them in moving forward.
Query what constitutes “appropriate” severance. One source claims that there were “no packages, just a kick out the door.” (Perhaps certain requirements must be met to obtain severance.)
In New York, where according to tipsters “all floaters” were laid off, people are shocked, especially considering the firm’s apparent motto: “strong enough to weather any storm.” Sorry folks, but thanks to technological advances in this post-recession Biglaw maelstrom, it looks like the S.S. Jones Day is throwing people overboard to keep itself from capsizing.
Is your firm conducting layoffs, stealth or otherwise? If you have information to share, about Jones Day or any other notable law firm, feel free to email us or text us (646-820-8477).
Jones Day law firm lays off 65 IT workers, 45 locally [Cleveland Plain Dealer]