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Latham Lays Off 190 Associates, 250 Staff

How much worse can it get? The AmLaw Daily reports this morning that Latham & Watkins is slicing 190 associates and 250 non-lawyer staff. That is 12 percent of its associates and 440 total positions. It is the largest single set of layoffs ever by a law firm.

After mounting speculation, firm chairman Robert Dell this morning confirmed that the firm had little choice given the current economic climate. "It's with profound regret that we're taking this action," he says, adding that the depth of this recession was unprecedented. "The health of the global economy is likely to remain poor this year and so staffing levels have to be better aligned with client needs."

The firm is offering severance packages to all the laid-off employees of six months pay (capped at $100,000) and medical coverage. It is the most generous package a firm has offered in this current round of cuts.

On Wednesday, the blog Above the Law reported that Latham appeared ready to announce major layoffs and that the announcement would likely come today. Staffers got the news this morning, when managing partner Robert Dell sent a firm-wide e-mail announcing the cuts. Above the Law republishes Dell's e-mail today. "We made this painful decision with great reluctance and only after concluding that demand for legal services in this troubled economy will not provide enough work for all of our attorneys," Dell writes. "Needless to say, the depth and duration of this recession could not have been anticipated."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 27, 2009 at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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