Many BigLaw firms are quietly laying off staff members, recruiters say

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Layoffs

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Reports of staff layoffs at a handful of large law firms don’t provide the whole picture.

Many law firms are laying off staff members. And in many cases, the layoffs are occurring without publicity, recruiters told Law.com.

Recruiters said the number of layoffs range from one or two people cut in certain departments to much larger numbers. And the cuts are continuing, according to Amy Leafe McCormack of McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, a recruitment company in Chicago.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t at least a handful [of layoffs] at most firms by year-end,” said McCormack told Law.com.

Above the Law recently reported that Kirkland & Ellis is reportedly laying off staff members. One tipster told the blog that more than 50 people had been let go.

While Kirkland & Ellis didn’t comment on the report, many law firms have confirmed layoffs in recent months. Law.com has the list: Baker Botts; Baker McKenzie; Davis Wright Tremaine; Hogan Lovells; Nixon Peabody; Seyfarth Shaw; Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Thompson & Knight; Venable; and Winston & Strawn.

Some of those laid off have jobs that are linked to the office, such as catering and mail room employees, recruiters said. Some are workers who have difficulty with remote technology. Some paralegals are being laid off, too.

McCormack told Law.com that she is seeing less demand for litigation paralegals, while demand remains strong for paralegals in intellectual property and transactional practices.

Despite the cuts, revenue is up at many law firms as expenses decline. Susan Mendelsohn of Mendelsohn Legal, a recruiting company, told Law.com that 90% of the law firms she has spoken with are “doing very well economically.”



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