And Today’s Layoff Stories Are

More news from the UK and the US detailing the further contraction of major law firms…

First stop is Clifford Chance where The Lawyer Magazine reports that they are to "dramatically scale back" their partnership in a bid to become the world’s top international law firm continues amid rapidly worsening economic conditions.

The Lawyer reports:

In a move reminiscent of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s 2006 partnership restructure, the firm’s management has told partners that it plans to "review the shape and size" of its partnership in the coming months.

The partnership will be asked to vote on the proposal in just over a month’s time and, while no exact numbers have been discussed at this stage, both salaried and equity partners will be asked to leave the firm.

Firmwide managing partner David Childs said he is confident that partners will approve the plan, adding that he expects all those affected to have left the firm by the end of this year.

Pointing out that revenues are down across the firm, Childs admitted that the cuts are being driven partly in a bid to maintain profitability.
"Overall revenues are down and we expect that to continue," he said. "We want to be in the right shape to be able to service our clients in the medium to long term.

Full report can be read here


On the other side of the pond the Lawyer also reports that US firm McDermott Will & Emery has laid off 60 associates and 89 support staff

The US firm’s chairman Harvey Freishtat emailed a firm-wide internal memo today announcing the cuts.

Freishtat said: “We are not immune to the continued deterioration in the market conditions. The business of our clients has slowed and this has affected our own levels of activity, particularly in the transactional area.”

Full Report


Moving west The Lawyer also reports that Dewey & LeBoeuf is closing down its San Francisco office and combining its Bay Area legal and support staff.(Are there any firms left in San Francisco?)

Full Report

Also in the US Hodgson Russ LLP, the largest law firm in Buffalo,announced on Friday that they were cutting more than a dozen staff.

And finally Am Law 100 firm  McKee Nelson has been hit hard by the downturn. They laid staff off before Christmas and by the tone of this report in the Am Law Daily it looks like further layoffs aren’t far off