The Firms

November 11, 2008 4:52 PM

White & Case Lays Off 70 Associates

Posted by Nate Raymond

White & Case said on Tuesday that it will lay off about 3 percent of its global legal and staff head count as part of a review of firm operations in light of the economic downturn.

The layoffs, first reported on the blog Above the Law, will affect about 70 associates and 90 staffers, spokesman Nicholas Clarke says.

"We are living in a time of unique economic challenges, and well-managed, successful businesses, including White & Case, must assess their operations in light of current market realities," chairman Hugh Verrier said in a statement. "We believe this is a necessary step to adjust to the global economic downturn and to ensure a strong, long-term future for the firm."

The cuts affect all of White & Case's U.S. offices and its London outpost, Clarke says. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, Miami, and Washington, D.C. Following the layoffs, the firm will employ roughly 4,900 lawyers and nonlegal staff.

Despite the layoffs, White & Case insisted in its statement that it "anticipates a strong 2008, with significant revenue growth across our globally diverse network." Clarke says net income is also up year-to-date. White & Case posted $1.373 billion in gross revenue in 2007, with profits per partner of $1.67 million.

Nevertheless, the firm said it was "exercising prudent business judgment" in anticipation of a weakened global economy in 2009.

The layoffs follow the closure last month of White & Case's Dresden and Milan outposts. Those closures affected 20 lawyers. The firm has also retained consulting firm McKinsey & Company to conduct a review of its global business. Clarke says neither the office closures nor the hiring of McKinsey are related to the layoffs.

White & Case says the layoffs are in part driven by a decline in attrition rates. It also says those being asked to leave will receive a "competitive" severance package. Clarke declined to provide more details on the package.

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If White & Case is going to be so profitable in 2008, why lay off all those people? Couldn't the highest paid partners take a small cut to keep the people that lost their jobs? Everyone would have kept their jobs. Today it's more important to have a job with no raise or no bonus than to not have a job at all. All those people have no where to go with no prospects on the horizon. It's a shame.
At W&C, the rich get richer and the poor are in hell.

You're absolutely right! All those partners at W&C are a bunch of no good cheapskates!

White & Case was so unceremonious in their layoffs..They didn't even inform attorneys that their secretaries were being let go. It's a disgrace...I agree. Why not let some of the fat cats shave something off their bottoms and let hardworking people with mortgages and college tuitions to pay maintain their existences. Shame on them!!!!

Partners taking even a small pay-cut? Ha Ha!! Of course that's not going to happen; god forbid they make a few bucks less than last year. We all know that partners have to increase their take home every year, even if that means cutting staff and hurting the little folks that really do need an income.

I hate to see people lose their jobs. Unless this is one of the rare occasions when it was the right people. By that, I really hope that 100 staffers was chiefly composed of the WONDERFUL administrators that worked at W&C during my hellish 3 years in the belly of the beast.

They will never take a cut. Firms like W&C with their serious fat, would not even consider telling their partners not to go first class on business trips, not charge firm for expensive dinners and the like. Instead the pick on people who need to pay their mortgages and household expenses prior to the Christmas Holidays. No way no how.

They read from a script as if the employee was someone they did not know. Some of the people that were fired worked there for years this was so inhumane.

To continue on CIL comment's people that they fired in many cases were 30 years at that firm and above. In humane? I would say more like thieves stripping people of their dignity and loyalty. Shame on you!

It is sad to see a great firm fail to understand the core elements of leverage. Partner costs exceed partner incomes at all large firms. Therefore if you reduce associate numbers you reduce profitability/margin. The only way to retain the profitabilty status quo is to ensure cuts of 3% or any percentage are across ALL personnel categories.

You believe that the ruling class will step down a little?
You have not payed attention to life...
Check out the rulers in Government

I agree with most of the comments that those that are very well paid, should consider taking a pay cut. This society is about ME ME ME. This is why we are in this mess now because people only care about their own gain in life. We can only pray and hope that things will improve and the economy will rebound stronger.

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