Two US Big Law Firms Make Major Staffing Cuts

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The slowdown in legal work has bitten Big Law firm Goodwin Procter who have been making cuts to their staffing across the board.

The firm revealed in an email from firm chair Robert Insolia and the firm’s managing partner Mark T Bettencourt that about five per cent of the firm’s ‘timekeepers’ and operational workers were affected by the cuts.

In Goodwin’s case, their lawyer intake had increased by 60 per cent since 2019 when transactional and litigation work was booming, but there was now a clear oversupply of lawyers within the practice.

Goodwin has a major practice in life sciences, technology and private equity work among other areas with almost 2000 lawyers and close to $2 billion in revenues.

Cooleys are another firm to reduce staff numbers and have let almost 80 lawyers go since December. The tech-focused, West Coast firm (a member of the LawFuel Most Prestigious Law Firm List) has also suffered from a downturn in legal work.

The staffing cuts are similar to that experienced in the tech marketplace and as seen in Crunchbase reporting last November that revealed over 85,000 workers from tech jobs in the US had been laid off in 2022.

Although many law firms have been holding off laying off staff with the slowdown, partly to avoid having to re-enter a competitive hiring market when business picks up, both Cooley and Goodwin have been open about their cuts, talking about matters in a more transparent manner than has been the norm for legal layoffs previously.

As recently as last October Goodwin had elevated 58 partners – its most ever – as well as opening an office in Singapore and expanding its private equity practices in London and Germany.

Two US Big Law Firms Make Major Staffing Cuts 1

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