A second major US law firm, this time O’Melveny & Myers, has announced cuts affecting hundreds of lawyers and support staff, the day after Orrick announced major staffing cuts.
One round of layoffs hasn’t been enough to stem the tide of falling profits at some major law firms, the National Law Journal reports.
The cuts at O’Melveny & Myers amount to about ten percent of attorneys and ten percent of staff. In addition to those cuts, there were 60 people from Shearman & Sterling, 130 people from Dewey, and now 200 people from O’Melveny that are to be let go.
In a statement, O’Melveny & Myers Chairman A.B. Culvahouse said, “We are taking these steps today to adjust our staffing levels to current demands and those we anticipate going forward. While our litigation practice continues to be very active and robust, we are taking these actions largely to address the slowness in our transactions area.”
With the economy in shambles, a growing number of firms are now in their second and even third rounds of cuts, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe joined that list on Tuesday.
Orrick announced that it is laying off about 100 associates and 200 legal staffers from its United States, Asian and European offices. The latest cuts are on top of a round of layoffs in November, when the firm let go of 40 attorneys and 35 staffers.
“We are saddened that we need to do this,” Orrick Chairman Ralph Baxter said in an interview on Tuesday. “But this is part of a comprehensive plan to adapt to a dramatically changed world.”
Baxter said that the global economic crisis now affects nearly all of the firm’s practices. The job cuts were spread among many practice areas and were “fairly balanced” among the United States, Asia and Europe. The first, smaller round of November layoffs was concentrated in the firm’s structured finance and real estate practices, Baxter said. Those first cuts were based on financial results that predated the economic meltdown that began in mid-September.