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April 2, 2009 12:18 PM

Jamaica Law Firm Layoffs? No Place is Safe, Mon!

Posted by Brian Baxter

Jamaica has given us many things to be thankful for: Bob Marley, reggae, Red Stripe beer, Olympic sprinters, and The Am Law Daily's favorite movie of all time, Cool Runnings. (Not to mention the Jamaican bobsled café in Montego Bay.)

But today, sobering news that leaves some Jamaicans not feeling quite right -- law firm layoffs.

The country's largest firm, 50-lawyer Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, confirmed on Thursday that it had reduced its staff by 15 percent. The firm, which has offices in Kingston and London, has 160 employees.

"A significant number of our clients are large investors based in the United States and Western Europe, as well as locally based real estate developers, investors, and entrepreneurs," managing partner Barbara Alexander told the Jamaica Observer. "These clients have now adopted a very conservative approach to investment. These developments have led to a reevaluation of our own resource needs at this time."

Alexander told the paper that the firm's clients have taken a "wait-and-see" attitude towards further investment, forcing Myers, Fletcher to shed 24 workers from its ranks. While nine of the workers were given early retirement, it's not clear from the Jamaica Observer story if any of these staffers are lawyers.

What we do know is that Myers, Fletcher lawyers sport cool-looking cravats (or barrister bands if you prefer) like their British brethren.

And despite the cutbacks, the firm will be hosting a "special appreciation function" to honor nine workers that are taking early retirement. Counseling will be provided for the rest of those employees who've been let go.

If they really need a pick-me-up, they'd be well-served adopting that old Cool Runnings catch phrase: Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, gear on up, it's bobsled time!

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