Biglaw Firm Makes 2 Rounds Of Stealth Layoffs After Billable Work Disappears

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Thanks to the economic downturn, stealth layoffs among corporate practices abound throughout Biglaw, hitting even some of the most successful law firms, like Kirkland and Cooley. Today, we have the details on even more stealth layoffs, and the news is not good.

It seems that Silicon Valley powerhouse Gunderson Dettmer — which delayed its new associates’ start date until January 2023 — followed up on that austerity move by making two rounds of layoffs due to a slowdown in work. Here are some additional details, courtesy of the American Lawyer:

[The firm] cut a group of associates in New York and Bay Area offices in September and this week due to a decline in billable work, according to four people with direct knowledge of the two rounds of cuts.

… [T]he layoffs at Gunderson affected about 10 associates in late September and about 20 more this week, according to sources in contact with affected individuals. Many of the associates recently let go were onboarded in recent years’ rush to hire corporate lawyers, only to be let go shortly after joining the firm.

Sources said that those who were let go had previously received glowing reviews, but thanks to the implosion within the tech industry, their hours dropped significantly. As noted in Am Law, some Gunderson associates billed as little as 10 hours last month. Yikes.

Is this what it’s going to look like at other tech-focused corporate firms as we close out the year?

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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