As the dismal economy has continued on a downward spiral this month, so has the legal industry, with February layoffs exceeding January’s by a considerable margin. January’s carnage, in which renowned law firms laid off more than 1,500 attorneys and staff at last count, has been followed by further freefall in February in which more than 2,000 attorneys and staff lost their jobs.
On a single “Bloody Thursday,” Feb. 12, law firms announced plans to ax some 800 attorneys and staff, at last report, and at least one has also imposed a pay freeze. And, in another major milestone, a top London-based international law firm, Allen & Overy, announced Feb. 19 that it would be cutting up to 450 attorneys and staff, spinning off part of its practice, imposing a pay freeze and asking remaining partners for an average of about $50,000 each in additional capital.
An ongoing stream of law firm layoff news throughout the month has contributed further to the total:
Most recently, New Jersey-based Lowenstein Sandler has just announced today that it is dismissing 53 attorneys and staff and shifting three of the 18 incoming third-year law students who had been scheduled to start work there this fall (as well as up to three of the dismissed lawyers) to lower-paid one-year public-interest jobs, according to Above the Law.