Mayer Brown Cuts 135 Lawyers and Staff

It is no secret that the nations’ top firms are cutting jobs across the board, and today Chicago-based firm Mayer Brown announced that 135 employees will be cut from the payroll. The global firm currently employs nearly 1,000 lawyers in North and South America, about 500 in Europe, and 300 in Asia. These aren’t the first round of cuts for the firm, and in addition to downsizing, the company is seeking other ways to cut expenditures.

Mayer Brown announced this week that 45 attorneys and 90 administrative staffers in its US offices will be let go—but this is not the first round of lay-offs for the company this year. Just last November, Mayer Brown let go of 33 attorneys from its global network. In March, the firm announced that 55 jobs in London, both attorneys and staff, are at risk of getting cut. As with the other top legal firms, Mayer Brown’s leadership attributes the cuts to the global economy and resulting reduced activity from clients.

While Mayer Brown is making news due to its size and prominence among firms, it certainly isn’t alone. To date over 50 of the nation’s top law firms have been forced to make cuts, many of them drastic, and several firms have entered the second and third wave of lay-offs, which have included senior partners, associates, and staff members across the board.

As many other firms have already done, the company also announced that the start date for most incoming associates will be deferred until January of 2010. The firm is seeking alternatives to full-time schedules for some attorneys and placement opportunities with pro bono organizations and in-house legal departments for other associates. Those signing up for this option will also receive a monthly stipend from the firm for one year.