Deferred associates, possible layoffs, a shuffle in upper management: things are happening at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.
According to a memo the firm sent to Above the Law, Squire Sanders is indefinitely deferring half of its incoming 2009 associate class and planning to let go of an additional 20 to 25 "timekeepers" firmwide.
Squire Sanders already had deferred incoming associates until January 2010. Should the firm carry through with its plan to reduce head count, it would be the fourth round of cutbacks in the past year.
The firm cut 32 lawyers in May and slashed first-year associate pay by 10 percent. In January, nine support staff employees were let go in the firm's Miami office. That came on the heels of a cull of 30 associates and paralegals in November 2008.
The memo on Above the Law also stated that managing partner James Maiwurm has recently assumed the role of chairman, replacing R. Thomas Stanton.
Maiwurm did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Stanton tells The Am Law Daily that he had no knowledge of the memo on Above the Law; he says he will get back to us. Asked whether he still is firm chairman, Stanton says he is transitioning out of the role.
Sources tell The Am Law Daily that Stanton was scheduled to retire as firm chairman by the end of the year and that Maiwurm was being groomed as his replacement. (A firm spokeswoman says the firm won't be offering any additional comments outside of this statement.)
Legal Week reported this summer that 860-lawyer Squire Sanders was holding trans-Atlantic merger talks with British firm Denton Wilde Sapte. Before that the firm engaged in preliminary merger talks with Seyfarth Shaw.
According to the most recent Am Law 100 financial data, Squire Sanders had gross revenues of $579.5 million in 2008 and profits per equity partner of $785,000.
This article first appeared on The Am Law Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.