The firm is not calling these cuts “layoffs.” Instead, the firm is finishing up semi-annual performance reviews and making cuts along those lines. The firm provided ATL with this statement:
Dewey & LeBoeuf maintains a semi-annual performance review process and we are currently in our year-end cycle. We do not comment on the specific outcomes of our performance review process or individual review conversations.
Some explanation about the Dewey & LeBoeuf review system, plus thoughts from tipsters, after the jump.
San Francisco is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Neither would Dewey & LeBoeuf. The firm just consolidated its San Francisco office into its Palo Alto office. A firm statement went out this morning:
Dewey & LeBoeuf has decided to centralize its Bay Area presence by relocating the lawyers and staff in its San Francisco office to its Silicon Valley office.
If you had to choose between the still thriving tech sector or the whatever the hell is left in San Francisco, it would be a pretty easy decision.
A tipster reported last week that this move isn’t a huge upheaval for the firm:
The office has been in steady decline for several years, and has shrunk from more than 40 attorneys to less than 20.
All attorneys and staff in the San Francisco office will be able to move over to Palo Alto. For most people, “commuting” is not going to be a big deal given the general job market.
More bad news coming out of California this evening, this time from Dewey & LeBoeuf.
Multiple tipsters tell us that the firm laid off 8 associates from its Los Angeles office. As one tipster puts it:
The attrition at Dewey & LeBoeuf continued yesterday as the firm laid off almost 30% of the associate corps in its Los Angeles office. Eight attorneys were let go, ranging from newly minted second years to more senior associates.
Our figures suggest that 30% is a little bit high, but eight associates does represent a significant chunk of Dewey’s L.A. associate presence.
A firm spokesperson confirmed that eight associates were no longer with the firm.
While our Dewey sources in New York are worried that their office might be next, it’s worth noting that Dewey already let go of 11 New York associates at the beginning of December. The worst might be over.
Dewey has not frozen salaries for the associates that remain.
These are the kinds of choices that Biglaw is facing right now, freeze salaries, fire associates, or come up with other ways of spreading the economic pain around.
So should Weil Gotshal associates be rooting against a government bailout of GM and the other big automakers?
GM bankruptcy –> more fees for Weil –> bigger bonuses (which WGM has not yet announced)?
UPDATE (1:00 AM): As of now, it looks like the auto industry bailout talks have failed. This makes a GM bankruptcy even more likely.
But even if GM does file for Chapter 11 (or even Chapter 7), thereby generating thousands of billable hours for Weil associates, it’s unlikely that Weil will pay out Skadden-sized bonuses (although the speculation sure is fun). As noted in the comments, Weil generally follows the market, and the market has settled around Cravath.
Paying above market could create problems for Weil. As one reader previously noted, “Weil will never be a bonus leader because there is concern at the firm that it would seem unsightly by the firm’s bankruptcy clients to lead the market with bonuses.”
That concern seems warranted. As GM director George Fisher told Bloomberg last week, “We are fearful, very fearful, of a prolonged [bankruptcy] proceeding that would just destroy our brand in the marketplace and therefore that is not considered a viable option…. These Wall Street geniuses and law firms are coming up with all these solutions that make them a lot of money.”
The bad news continues to roll in, this time from Dewey & LeBoeuf. The firm has confirmed that 12 associates were let go today:
For many of the associates in our Structured Finance Practice, we have already been able to identify other opportunities elsewhere within the firm. Unfortunately, we cannot find work for everyone. Therefore, today we will eliminate 12 positions – 11 in New York and one in Los Angeles. This decision is based solely on the poor conditions in the structured finance market and is not in any way related to the performance of these associates.
Maybe firms are starting to get the message that being upfront with layoff news is preferable to stealth layoffs under the guise of performance reviews. Reed Smith stepped up to the plate yesterday, and Proskauer and now Dewey are hopefully starting the new trend towards honesty when it comes to attorney reductions.
Things are going to get better in 2009, right? I mean, at some point this has to stop.
Read Dewey’s full statement after the jump. You can see that the firm is at least doing everything they can to respect work and efforts of the 12 people they let go today.
If things are a little slow in New York law firms, perhaps they should consider starring roles in the pictures. We’ve covered movie shootings at firms before, because it seems somewhat glamorous to host the Hollywood types and to see your firm later on the big screen.
But now we’re getting news that Dewey & LeBoeuf has deigned to be a set for the little screen. From a Dewey tipster last week:
[T]hought you might be interested to hear that yesterday and today we have production crews from the tv series “Damages” in our building at 1301 Ave of the Americas filming scenes for their upcoming season. It’s quite amusing actually. Crews are on our 23rd and 43rd floors, so people are tip-toeing around and there are signs all over the place that read “Filming in Progress … please avoid the Area.”
This is the second time D&L has been used as a set. Scenes from Michael Clayton were also filmed here. Needless to say there were many star-struck associates who got a chance to see George Clooney walking the halls.
In case you don’t know about it, Damages is a legal series on FX that starts Glenn Close (aka, bunny boiler from Fatal Attraction), William Hurt and Ted Danson.
Oscar-winning film Michael Clayton and mega-wattage star George Clooney meet the standards of Biglaw prestige. Film away. But a legal series on FX?
Oh, Dewey, like Glenn Close, your acting career is on the decline.
Before Thanksgiving, we were hearing rumors of layoffs in Dewey’s New York office. Like an aging Hollywood star, going to the small screen may be an act of desperation. Filming revenues must pay the salaries of a couple of first year associates.
Today Dewey & LeBoeuf announced that they would be closing their Charlotte, North Carolina office as of December 31st.
Dewey appears to be in full contraction mode, having already announced the closing of offices in Hartford, CT; Jacksonville, FL; and Austin, TX.
According to a firm spokesperson:
As part of its continuing review of global office locations, Dewey & LeBoeuf will be closing its office in Charlotte, North Carolina. The decision has been made in part due to the economic conditions in the market, which has seen the consolidation of several major banking institutions and a challenging structured finance market. The Charlotte office, which has eight attorneys, will close on December 31, 2008.
The Charlotte market, a burgeoning center of the U.S. banking industry, continues to take hits to its legal market. Last week, Moore & Van Allen laid off around 20 staff members.
According to one tipster, the 8 Charlotte attorneys will receive a 12-week severance package.
Update (5:19): A Dewey spokesperson now confirms that there are 11 lawyers in the Charlotte office. The associates will be laid-off while the firm evaluates relocation options for the partners.
Jingoistic competition is fun, but why should handing out medals be the sole province of the IOC? Athletes and David Rivkin should not be the only ones getting a taste of Olympic glory.
Here at ATL, we’ve put law firms on the (imaginary) field of competition and are now ready to reveal the gold medal winners in a number of sports.
After the jump, see the winners, and weigh in on which firms would be champions in sports we did not pick for prime time.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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