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Halfway Through the Year in Law Firm Layoffs

Last week, former Wall Street Journal Law Blog editor Dan Slater proposed that we take a more favorable view toward law firm layoffs. The glut of BigLaw associates was bad for both clients and the lawyers themselves, he argued, and a great culling will be better for us all in the long run. It's important to think through such big picture arguments as the legal industry wades through its most profound period of change in decades, but it can also appear a bit heartless when held up against the numbers.

Law Shucks took a break from its weekly layoff reports (which also appear in an abbreviated form on Above the Law) today to bring us a Mid-Year Layoff Review. The good news is that the overall number of lawyer cuts is shrinking from its high of 1,337 in March. According to Law Shucks' numbers, only 134 lawyers were laid off in June. But the cuts aren't over just yet: Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Ruden McClosky announced last week that it has laid off eight more attorneys, in addition to an 18 percent pay cut across the firm, according to The Daily Business Review, and ATL reports on tips that Cahill Gordon let go of a number of junior attorneys last week.

It's also important to note that BigLaw is not alone when it comes to lawyer layoffs. The American Lawyer counts just under 3,000 lawyer cuts so far among the Am Law 200, but Law Shucks, which casts a wider net, counts 4,015 layoffs to date. It also catches the collateral damages involved in all this trimming. Standing right beside all those lawyers in the unemploment line are the 6,708 law firm staffers who have been let go so far this year.

Posted by Product Team on July 6, 2009 at 04:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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