Fresh off the news that Perkins Coie — a firm that made $1,155,565,000 in gross revenue in 2021, making it 42nd on the Am Law 100 — told associates the number of billable hours they’d have to log to get their full bonus was going up, there’s another cost-cutting measure at the firm: layoffs.
Today, Bill Malley, Firmwide Managing Partner, announced the firm’s laying off 58 business professionals across their U.S. offices. The firm’s severance package for those laid off includes severance pay, assistance with healthcare coverage costs, access to Lyra Health for mental health support, outplacement services, a payout for unused paid time off, and sabbatical pay for those that qualify.
In a firmwide memo obtained by Above the Law, Malley blamed the staff reduction on a combination of economic forces and technology taking over one-time manual functions:
The legal industry has shifted again over the past year. Like most law firms, we are navigating macroeconomic forces and market conditions that are driving up costs at a higher rate than revenue. Those conditions have forced us and other law firms to take steps to manage the rate of increase in expenses, while continuing to serve our clients at the highest level and to make investments that support the firm’s long-term growth.
Beyond the immediate economic environment, we are navigating deep transformations in the workplace and in the way legal services are provided. As a firm, we operate more than ever in national teams that provide highly specialized support across time zones and locations. We use technology in new ways to deliver information more efficiently. We automate tasks that previously were manual. We build custom solutions tailored to client needs. We innovate in the way we price and deliver legal services. These changes compel us to transform our own business by re-thinking roles, restructuring departments, and re-imagining the way we work together to serve our clients.
Malley also indicated the cuts are “consistent with delivering excellent service and maintaining the long-term health and competitiveness of our firm.” Perkins Coie will also be offering informational sessions to answer questions that folks at the firm may have about the layoffs.
You can read the firm’s full memo below.
If your firm or organization is 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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Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @[email protected].