"Law is subject to the same laws of economics as every other business." Thus spoke Tower Snow, former chair of Brobeck, the then large San Francisco law firm.
Sonnenschein announced this week that it was laying-off/firing 37 attorneys, about 5 percent of the firm’s 691 lawyers. Of these, six are partners, four are "of counsel" and 27 are associates. A much larger number of layoffs involved paralegals, secretaries and other administrative staff. The total of 124 represent about 7 percent of Sonnenschein’s workforce of more than 1,700 in 13 U.S. cities and Brussels.
Their announcement made clear that this was not a "performance-based" lay-off. Rather, the firm was seeking to match its resources with its clients’ demands/needs. This is not a curious occurrence in my view. Economics does rule the roost. However, what is strange to me is that their recruitment efforts have not been abated! Wow. They fire on the one hand and hire on the other hand. That is expensive! It will cost at least $200/$500,000 per lawyer fired … and tens of thousands of dollars to recruit and educate a new lawyer. Although a real estate lawyer may not know bankruptcy, it certainly seems a lot less expensive to train the one lawyer to work in the other practice area … far less expensive than hiring/firing and again hiring!
But then, who am I? I’ve only signed the payroll checks for folks such as these ….