March 4, 2009 6:27 PM
Orrick Leads in Percentage of Associate, Counsel Jobs Slashed
Posted by Vivia Chen
Update: Holland & Knight, number 2 in an earlier version of this post, informs us that its 70-lawyer layoff included partners and contract attorneys as well as associates--although the firm declined to provide a further breakdown of the lawyers it cut. White & Case joins the list at number 10.
This is the Top Ten list that firms don't want to make: The Am Law 100 firms who have laid off the highest percentage of their nonpartner ranks (as counted from September 30, 2008 to today). The dubious top prize goes to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which eliminated almost 20 percent of lawyers in its associate and counsel ranks. In terms of absolute numbers, the winner--if that's the term--is Latham & Watkins, which recently sheared 190 associates. Sadly, that kind of big layoff number is beginning to lose its shock value as more and more firms jump on the layoff bandwagon in this economic meltdown.
But what's surprising about the data is that New York firms barely made the Top Ten layoff list. (Proskauer Rose, with 35 associate layoffs, was number nine; giant White & Case, with 70 cuts, squeezed into tenth place.) That's especially striking when you consider that New York sits at the epicenter of the financial meltdown, and New York firms are reputed to be tough and mean.
Why California and Midwest firms should dominate this list is anyone's guess. Could they be more business-minded--perhaps more ruthless--than Wall Street firms? "[New York firms] have a different culture and management style," says consultant Peter Zeughauser. "Layoffs are not in their DNA."
But he adds ominously: "The big boys haven't weighed in yet. Ultimately, you will see layoffs."
Firm Number of Nonpartners Cut % of Nonpartners Cut*
1. Orrick 140 19.86
2. Cooley Godward 52 12.97
3. Bryan Cave 58 11.22
4. Latham & Watkins 190 10.84
5. McDermott Will 60 10.64
6. Wilson Sonsini 45 10.09
7. O'Melveny & Myers 90 9.53
8. Goodwin Procter 36 7.41
9. Proskauer Rose 35 6.39
10. White & Case 70 4.00
*All percentages based on firm head counts as of September 30, 2008.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to associate layoffs when in fact some firms' statistics included other nonpartner layoffs, such as of counsel cuts.Make a comment