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Goodwin Procter Announces Job Cuts Due to Economic Slowdown
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Goodwin Procter, Top 20 US Law Firm, Cuts Jobs in Response to Economic Slowdown

Associates, Paralegals and Business Professionals Affected by Job Cuts Across Multiple US Offices

Goodwin Procter, a top 20 US law firm, has announced job cuts in response to the economic slowdown. The move was revealed to staff in an email by chair Robert Insolia and managing partner Mark T. Bettencourt and affects associates, paralegals and members of the firm’s global operations teams across multiple US offices. The email stated that ‘approximately 5%’ of its ‘timekeeper’ and operations personnel had been affected.

This news follows a similar move by tech-focused West Coast rival Cooley, which axed 150 employees including 78 attorneys in early December. Both firms are notable for having recruited heavily during a sustained US deal boom that finally ran out of steam last year.

  
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According to the Goodwin memo, the firm’s lawyer population had grown by 60% since October 2019. This expansion was fueled by record deal activity within the Boston-based firm’s technology and life sciences client base, which propelled it to the head of Refinitiv’s 2021 global M&A ranking by volume.

However, an ‘ongoing slowdown’ prompted a review of the firm’s business, leading it to conclude that ‘our current staffing levels are too high for our current and projected demand.’ The cuts echo lay-offs in the technology market, with Crunchbase reporting last November that more than 85,000 workers in the US tech sector had been laid off to that point in 2022.

Notably, both Cooley and Goodwin chose to be transparent about the cuts, with their memos adopting strikingly similar language. ‘In an industry that has embraced the “stealth” layoff where leadership tries to make individual lawyers feel like it’s the associate’s fault they’ve been let go, we appreciate firms that are straightforward about employment decisions,’ said Above the Law.

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It remains to be seen whether Cooley’s and Goodwin’s moves are the start of a trend, or outliers based on the extent of their hiring and particular market exposure. As recently as last October, Goodwin was unveiling its largest-ever partner round, making up 58 partners concentrated in its private equity, life sciences and technology practices. The firm has also been investing heavily in its London and German private equity practices and opened in Singapore in September.

The economic slowdown has caused a ripple effect on various industries, with law firms being no exception. The job cuts at Goodwin Procter serve as a reminder that even successful and growing firms can be affected by economic downturns. The transparency of the firm in communicating the job cuts to its employees is commendable and sets an example for other firms to follow. As the situation continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see if other firms in the legal industry follow suit and announce their own job cuts.



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