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The Cadwalader Crash and Famous Last Words

Oh what a difference 18 months can make for a law firm.   Recall that in February 2007, it seemed that the future belonged to Cadwalader.  Back then,  the firm had just come off a banner year, with profits per partner of $2.9 million for 2006, double the figure from 2002.  And the firm's managing partner, Robert Link, predicted that the firm would have no difficulty sustaining its record growth, "short of some cataclysmic event that hits everyone else too."

Famous last words.  Only that cataclysmic event -- the crash of the mortgage securities market and the subprime crisis -- hasn't hit everyone.  Yesterday, it was Cadwalader alone that announced a massive layoff of 96 lawyers, just six months after the firm's first cut of 35 lawyers.

Around the blogosphere, the mood is gloomy.  There's not yet been a sound, inside analysis of what went wrong. Did the firm unwisely put all of its eggs in the mortgage securities basket, or was it driven to do so by its clients' demands?  But, here's a sampling of some of the commentary from around the blogosphere:

-- Cadwalader associates will have a tough time finding jobs in this market. [ Am Law Daily]

-- Were the layoffs really economic, or did the economy give the firm a good excuse? [Comments section of the WSJ Law Blog]

-- Layoffs are tough, but it's important to take action, not just explore feelings. [Law and More (offering other job seeking advice)]

-- Why the Cadwalader casualties should think about starting a law firm. [MyShingle (my home blog)]

What do you think about the layoffs?  How should these newly unemployed lawyers plan for their future?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 31, 2008 at 02:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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