More law layoffs in store?

Many top firms are considering another round of cuts, according to the Daily Journal (subscription required). This week, Chicago-based Mayer Brown announced that it was eliminating 45 lawyers and 90 staff in the firm's U.S. offices (that's on top of earlier cuts in the firm's offices in Asia and London).

During Mayer Brown's first round of cuts, which happened in November, at least 33 attorneys in the firm's U.S.-based offices were shown the door. Last month, 23 attorneys and 32 staff members were laid off in the firm's London office. It was unclear whether the positions of attorneys in California - the firm employs 54 in Los Angeles and more than 20 in Palo Alto - were eliminated on Thursday. The firm recently announced plans to expand in California.


Experts say that firms, which put tremendous resources into recruiting, were hesitant to adjust staffing levels too dramatically until they realized how prolonged the recession might be. "I don't think anybody knew how bad or how long it would be until the fourth quarter last year," said consultant Peter Zeughauser of the Zeughauser Group. "And I think you're going to see more rounds. It's still early in the game."

L.A.-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips is another firm that has had multiple layoffs.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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