Biglaw, Layoffs, Litigators

Nationwide Layoff Watch: Litigators Laid Low At Jones Day

Here at Above the Law, whenever we get a tip about a law firm, we consult with our existing sources at the firm and reach out to the firm’s press operation to nail down as many details as possible. But sometimes there’s a firm so wrapped up in its own secrecy that it’s like pulling teeth to score any further information.

In the wake of the recent double-digit lawyer layoffs at Kasowitz Benson, we heard about another firm letting litigators go in New York. We reached out to this firm last week for comment and have not yet heard back. Maybe they think responding is beneath them? They are one of the most-arrogant law firms in the world — so much so that they’re publicly disrespecting Judge Richard Posner. Perhaps they think that blowing us off will make the story go away? They’d be wrong.

So we’re taking the reports we’ve heard to you, the audience, hoping it might inspire someone out there to divulge additional intel that we can use to update the story.

As of now, we hear the megafirm sent a partner walking the halls of the New York office last week, telling litigators to consider the enriching employment opportunities of “somewhere else.”

The website of Jones Day is crowing about the opening of its new office in Perth. Meanwhile, the firm continues to be making more ($13.7 million in fees over 75 days) from Detroit’s misery than OmniCorp. That doesn’t sound like a firm tightening its belt.

But we’re hearing that on Thursday, Jones Day partner Charles Carberry took a list of names — rumored to be 10 or more — and stopped by the offices of these mid-level litigation associates to inform them that they had about three to six months to move on. That’s rough. Even in the boom years, the most successful job transitions take a few months to wrap up. No details on any sort of severance package, but hopefully the firm is offering something to keep these folks over until they can get a new job or decide to join Alex Rich, Mercenary Lawyer in the bleak embrace of contract work.

Associates are generally encouraged to leave on their own schedule after the pyramid scheme that is Biglaw forces the firm to shave a bit more off the sides by telling mid-levels that they won’t make partner. At this point the lawyer calls a headhunter and in six to eight months is off to the next job that won’t appreciate them. It’s unclear why Jones Day would accelerate that schedule now. Perhaps they worried that the poor market would lead too many to linger. And that’s far too depressing, so it’s easier to get them out of the office so you don’t have to watch them scramble to find a job or crying in the halls worrying about defaulting on their loans.

Or maybe the New York office isn’t having the banner results the rest of the firm is boasting about? Or are there other offices involved?

Anyway, if you have any information on what exactly happened, let us know.

As noted above, we reached out to Jones Day for comment last Thursday and again today, but have not heard back. We will update this story if and when we receive additional information, whether from the firm itself or from other sources. If you have information to share, please email us or text us (646-820-8477). Thanks.

Earlier: In-House Counsel Rank (Some Of) Biglaw’s Most Arrogant Firms For Client Service
The Benchslap Dispatches: I Pity The Fool Who Tries To Talk Over Judge Posner
Jones Day: Secrecy Breeds Strength?

(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments