Law Firms Avoid Announcing Layoffs, Even to Staff
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From Am Law Daily:

The Am Law Daily is running out of leads for layoff stories, so we were relieved when we saw that Meredith Hobbs at the Fulton County Daily Report, an Am Law Daily sibling publication, got the managing partner of Seyfarth Shaw‘s Atlanta office to open up a bit about the recent layoffs there.

This statement from the partner, Paul Mattingly, especially caught our attention: “I’m not concerned about announcing layoffs publicly because these days they’re a fact of life.”


From the article:

Most firms still opt for “stealth” layoffs, preferring to cull lawyers and staff just a few at a time, in the hope that the cuts will escape the notice of the legal community — and, often, even people in their own firm.

They are loath to announce they are shedding associates and staff because business has slumped, fearing it will affect their ability to recruit and retain laterals…

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Many firms also prefer to say cuts are performance-related because they worry about the stigma of admitting they don’t have enough work…

Seyfarth bucked the trend with last week’s e-mail memo explaining that it was laying off employees because of the economic downturn.

“Since layoffs have become so pervasive, clarifying that they were not for performance reasons, but because of market conditions, seemed like the fair thing to do,” said [Atlanta managing partner Paul] Mattingly.




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