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April 2, 2009 12:33 PM

Mayer Brown Cuts 135 Lawyers and Staff Across U.S.

Posted by Richard Lloyd

Mayer Brown has announced that it is cutting 45 attorneys and 90 administrative staffers across its US offices.

In a statement released by the firm Thursday, chairman James D. Holzhauer blamed the reductions on the prolonged downturn in the global economy, which has resulted in "reduced business activity by our clients." The cuts are the latest by the Chicago-based firm. Last November it let go of 33 attorneys from its global network; in March, the firm confirmed that up to 55 legal and staff jobs were under threat in London.

As well as announcing the cuts, the firm also confirmed that it is implementing a number of cost-cutting measures, including a deferred start date for most incoming associates to January 19, 2010. Those who start later will receive a $5000 monthly stipend and subsidized medical benefits during the deferral period.

The firm also is looking at alternatives to full time work schedules for some lawyers and also for placement opportunities with pro bono organizations and in-house legal department for some associates. Those signing up for this option will also receive a monthly stipend from the firm for one year.

"We are taking these additional steps to save jobs where possible and maintain relationships with talented, experienced and valued lawyers," Holzhauer said. The firm currently has around 1000 lawyers in the Americas, 500 in Europe and 300 in Asia.

Update, 4/3/09 at 1:20 p.m.: We followed up with Mayer Brown on a handful of questions regarding the layoffs. The firm says that those attorneys who take opportunities with pro bono organizations or corporate legal departments will not be guaranteed their old jobs back. It is not clear yet how many lawyers the firm expects will pursue this option.  


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