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June 4, 2009 12:31 PM

McDermott Lays Off 25 Lawyers, 47 Staff Members

Posted by Ed Shanahan

The law firm layoffs continue.

McDermott, Will & Emery announced "a reduction in force" Thursday affecting 25 lawyers and 47 staff members. News of the cuts was released to the firm in a memo to all personnel from chairman Harvey Freishtat. The memo was also released to The Am Law Daily.

"This difficult decision results from a careful review of the current and projected needs of our clients," Freishtat said in the memo. "While we are seeing signs of recovery in some practice areas, demand for transactional-related services continues to lag."

Today's cuts brings the total number of attorneys who've lost their jobs at the 1055-lawyer firm in recent months to 85. In February, 60 lawyers were terminated due to a drop-off in work.

Those affected by the cuts will be meeting with their managers on Thursday, according to the memo. The firm will offer what it describes as a "comprehensive" severance package covering benefits, career counseling, and the establishment of a fund to help those who face economic hardships after they leave the firm.

Freishtat also commented on "departing Class of 2008 associates" who will be given the opportunity to work with community service organizations as public interest fellows. The firm will pay those associates a monthly stipend, according to the statement. McDermott is among the firms that have not yet formally announced deferrals for their fall 2009 incoming associate class.

Starting next week, McDermott incoming cochairs, partners Peter Sacripanti and Jeff Stone (elected in early April to succeed Freishtat before year's end), along with Freishtat, will be meeting with lawyers and staff throughout the firm to discuss the move and the firm's strategy going forward.

We've reached out to the firm for additional comment and questions on today's announcement and will update with more information if and when we hear back.

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This firm is one of the most punitive I have ever seen when it comes to staff. I can only speak for the New York office. Also not very nice to its associates, as well. Cheap cheap cheap was their motto. Now their clients are asking them to live up to their internal philosophy. Cheap. Good.

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