Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Mayer Brown had put in place a firmwide pay freeze, including halting associate lockstep. In fact, the immediate freeze is in London.
Mayer Brown has launched a restructuring in London which is set to see overall headcount reduced by 55.
The firm is expecting to lose up to 23 associates and 32 support staff, including secretaries, as a result of the restructuring, which is likely to hit transactional areas such as corporate and real estate the hardest.
On top of the cuts, the firm is also instituting a pay freeze for London staff and associates and is asking for trainees due to start at the firm in September 2009 to volunteer to defer until 2010.
The firm said the restructuring was part of its strategy moving into 2009 and 2010 in response to the global recession.
London senior partner Sean Connolly commented: "It is an inescapable fact that the global economy is currently going through a severe and prolonged downturn. As a firm with clients across almost every impacted sector we, of course, are not immune to the downturn and it was inevitable that we would have to make some adjustments to our business structure.
"However, we were determined to wait until we had as clear a picture as possible of the likely market in 2009 and 2010 before making any significant decisions. We now believe we have such a picture."
"The sadness is that you have to part with very good people. We will do all that we can to support our staff through the process."
London executive partner Jeremy Clay said: "We have had to look at the reality of managing our business and have had to create one structure for 2009 and 2010. We feel that we have to change the shape and size of our firm in London and these are the steps we have had to take."
The news follows November's decision to cut 33 lawyers from the firm's global network, with nine lawyers laid off in London.
The firm currently has 704 staff in its London office, with 113 partners, 264 associates and 327 business support staff.
News of the restructuring comes a week after the firm's global chairman James Holzhauer announced he was to step down as part of overhaul of the firm's management structure.
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