On Christmas Eve, Mayer Brown announced its bonuses for associates in the New York office. They matched the market– no surprises there. But our tipster noted that associates at the firm are unsettled by rumors making the rounds of layoffs coming in 2009. Mayer already laid off 33 attorneys, as well as administrative staff in November.
One sentence in the bonus memo has an ominous tone that’s making Mayer associates uneasy. The memo says that bonuses will be paid January 16, 2009 but “only to associates in good standing who are employed by the firm on the date the bonus is actually paid.” From a Mayer tipster:
People are upset about the language, (“All bonuses will be paid only to associates in good standing who are employed by the Firm on the date the bonus is actually paid.”) believing it to reinforce the idea that layoffs are happening come January 5th.
Are Mayer associates overreacting to the memo language?
Firm spokesperson Bob Harris says this is the “same language that has been used for several bonus seasons.” We looked back at last year’s memo though and didn’t see a similar sentence.
UPDATE: Associates are overreacting. Harris points us to a different 2007 memo that does employ the same language.
Harris was emphatic in saying that there are “no plans whatsoever for additional layoffs” at Mayer Brown.
Rumor mongers suggest otherwise. Predictions on the practice groups to be hit with layoffs, after the jump.