Kirkland & Ellis piled on the bad news today with layoffs in their New York and Washington DC offices. More than 20 were let go in New York, and an unspecified number in DC. First and second year corporate lawyers were hit particularly hard. These layoffs come at the end of the associate review process and at least one person has said that lawyers not on track to become partners or non equity partners were asked to go. Does it strike anyone else as odd that Kirkland is ready to make that kind of decision based on one or two years of associate level work? Certainly no company wants to admit they are struggling but is it a crime in a weak economy to acknowledge that some layoffs are for purely financial reasons? It is worth noting that Kirkland hasn’t laid anyone off since this time last year and that a significant percentage of summer associates were given offers.
Kirkland & Ellis has 9 offices total, with 6 in the United States. They are best known for their litigation, bankruptcy, and intellectual property departments. They have a track record of high revenues and profits, topping $1.3 billion in revenues in 2007.