It was just this afternoon that we once again sounded the warning that the layoffs were coming during the third quarter thanks to the pandemic.
Lo and behold, here they are.
Today, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner co-chairs Steve Baumer and Lisa Mayhew sent a firmwide email letting everyone know that it will be laying off attorneys and staff as a result of the coronavirus crisis. On top of that, the firm will be shuttering its Beijing office. Here’s a relevant excerpt from that email (available in full on the next page):
The exact size, shape, and speed of global economic recovery remains unclear as we look ahead. In the near term, we do not anticipate a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of economic activity, nor perhaps, even on a more extended basis. Although some pockets of our Firm remain exceptionally busy, our overall capacity is in excess of demand and how we should be structured to best serve our clients.
All of this together has led to our decision to undertake targeted reductions across some practices to ensure that our talent and resources are best aligned to meet client needs. These reductions will impact a small proportion of our global workforce, including lawyers and business services staff. We will also be tightening our footprint in Asia, where we will be closing our small Beijing office as part of these efforts.
BCLP will offer severance to the affected lawyers and staff based on the higher salaries they received prior to the cuts that the firm instituted in April and reimburse the 15 percent salary cuts to those who are laid off before they leave the firm. The firm will also offer outplacement coaching and counseling to those who are let go.
Sources have already told us that associates in the firm’s Phoenix and Dallas offices have been affected by the layoffs. Let us know if your office has been impacted.
UPDATE (6:00 p.m.): We’ve been told that associates have also been laid off in the firm’s San Francisco, D.C., and St. Louis offices.
On the bright side, after the firm’s deadline for salary cuts expires later this summer, those reductions will be halved to 7.5 percent, instead of the current 15 percent. These reduced cuts will be extended through the end of 2020. The firm will also be creating a bonus pool for those who “contributed highly” during the first half of the year. Way to rub salt in the wound for those who were just let go.
Best of luck to all those who are affected by the layoffs at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.
If your firm or organization is slashing salaries, closing its doors, or reducing the ranks of its lawyers or staff, whether through open layoffs, stealth layoffs, or voluntary buyouts, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Our vast network of tipsters is part of what makes Above the Law thrive. You can email us or text us (646-820-8477).
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Earlier: Biglaw Associate Salary Cuts Come To The Am Law 50
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.