There’s no doubt about it: Weil Gotshal & Manges is the reigning drama queen of Biglaw. In June, the firm laid off 60 lawyers and 110 staffers. Last week, the firm lost eight partners to the Dallas office of Sidley Austin, including some pretty heavy hitters (and basically all of Weil’s women partners in Dallas).
Today we bring you (1) additional information about the Dallas moves and (2) a report from Weil’s Boston outpost, where some people are not happy….
We’ll start with Weil in Dallas, which last week saw eight partners leave for Sidley Austin. First, some good news: morale in the office is surprisingly high despite the departures, with the remaining attorneys rallying in the wake of the defections.
Second, another possible reason for the defections: Weil’s high billing rates. One source suggests that star litigatrix Yvette Ostolaza and her colleagues will be able to service clients at Sidley that they weren’t able to help while at Weil, which has sky-high billing rates.
Now, a report from Boston, about a minor but amusing item:
To increase morale in the Weil Boston office (where layoffs coincided with a large uptick in billiables and were then followed by the Dallas news), associates were ordered at the all-associates meeting to begin eating their dinners in the lounge with one another to increase camaraderie and morale.
Because nothing improves morale like mandatory meals with colleagues. Is this a law firm or a prison?
Maybe it’s not a prison, but Weil in Boston isn’t what it used to be, according to this source:
When I started, this office was fantastic. People worked a lot, but we were a community. People actually liked being here and, believe it or not, had fun. Picture laughter, practical jokes, Nerf guns, after-dinner drinks, etc. Hours were probably higher then (though we still have one first-year with an air mattress in his office), but but this place felt like home (ok, that might be a little sad).
Now? People are treated like garbage by the partners…. I’ve never seen this type of misery in a workplace. Rumor has it that there is a high probability that we will lose every one of our first-year associates, all of whom are talking to other employers or just looking for an exit.
Good news for the lateral market?
Make that every one of the Boston office’s remaining first-year associates. Some first-years in litigation fell victim to the June 2013 layoffs, even though they had arrived at the firm just a few months earlier. There’s basically no longer a litigation department in Boston — if you look at the lawyer roster for the office, you’ll see one litigation partner, Patrick J. O’Toole Jr., and one litigation associate who splits her time between New York and Boston.
If you have anything to share about Weil Gotshal — new information, an update, a correction to any of our prior coverage — please email us or text us (646-820-8477). Weil is the most interesting firm in Biglaw nowadays, and we’d like to bring you as much as we possibly can about this unfolding story.