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Am Law Firms Laid Off at Least 50 Employees
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It is rumored that up to 40 employees have been laid off from Kasowitz Benson.

Sullivan & Cromwell, one of the most prestigious BigLaw firms in the country, has reportedly laid off employees in multiple departments, according to a well-sourced report by Law.com.

The white-shoe Wall Street giant, ranked No. 18 in the Am Law 100 with gross revenue of $1,467,398,000 in 2019, has laid off and offered buyout packages to roughly 50 employees across several departments at the firm, several sources told LAW.com.

The slew of layoffs stretched through several departments within the firm, including marketing, events, and temporary workers; the laid-off received a severance package of two week’s pay for every year served at the firm. S&C also offered the older employees an early retirement option, which the firm dubbed a voluntary retirement package for those older than 55 whose age and years of service add up to 70. The sources said around 100 employees were given the early retirement option.

  
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The firm also parted ways with six chief or director-level personnel including directors of global business development, knowledge management, internal auditing, legal personnel hospitality services, and global contracts and special projects ― although it’s unclear whether their departure was linked to the layoffs.

As it turns out, the Wall Street firm is not alone in laying off employees and cutting back on costs.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner on July 15 confirmed it was cutting attorney and staff positions across its global business.

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Indianapolis-based Ice Miller LLP laid off up to 11 furloughed attorneys from multiple offices after furloughing them this spring amid the pandemic.

With 347 attorneys and 190 partners in the U.S. last year, Ice Miller was the 136th largest law firm in the U.S. as of the end of 2019.



Fox Rothschild also confirmed the layoff of six associates. However, the firm said the layoffs “stem from productivity and performance issues.”

A survey conducted in May by the National Association for Law Placement shows that about 10% of law firm respondents reported furloughs or layoffs for personnel in recruiting, professional development, talent, or diversity and inclusion departments.

Some firms, though, are starting to roll back austerity measures as revenue performance outpaced initial expectations.

“I would say the pandemic has given the opportunity to rethink the shape of a law firm,” Jennifer Johnson, founder of consulting firm Calibrate Legal, told Law.com. “I think it has heightened an awareness that the traditional model may not be what we are going to see as having the most success going forward.”



 

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