Pillsbury Winthrop Lays off 35 Staffers
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As law firms continue to “optimize,” the news this weekend is of Pillsbury Winthrop laying off 35 staffers. Rick Donaldson, chief operating officer of the 600-plus lawyer firm confirmed the layoffs, with law blog Above the Law reporting the news.

Donaldson said in his statement that the layoffs were a normal part of optimization of the law firm and the firm would follow proper procedures in the matter.


He said, “The departures affect approximately 35 staff in various offices, departments and sections.”

With Pillsbury Winthrop having 14 offices worldwide and an operations center at Nashville, there’s enough places to choose from.

Donaldson affirmed, “We will be providing these individuals with severance pay, health benefits and career transition services … We wish them well in future endeavors.”

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Donaldson did not indicate that the layoffs were either performance or finance related. Rather it seemed the firm was very sorry to see the staff go, almost as if they were leaving of their own accord.

The statement mentioned, “Today’s actions are especially difficult because we know first-hand the many contributions our staff have made to Pillsbury in the time they have been with us and know them to be talented, diligent individuals.”


However, Donaldson’s statement mentioned, “Aligning our overall resources with the firm’s current needs is a normal and continuing part of our business. Where possible, we make these adjustments through natural attrition and voluntary reductions, but despite these efforts, our staffing levels have remained elevated. As a result, effective from September 4, the firm reduced the number of support staff and paraprofessional positions through a reduction in force.”

While trimming down fat and getting rid of poor performers is always sound strategy, it continues to wonder us why admittedly talented and contributing staff need to go.

If saving money through layoffs is the best business strategy, then how about removing all the staff – it would save all the money. No?


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