These days, news of possible lawyer layoffs moves faster than New York office workers trying to get to the beach on a summer Friday.

The cloistered New York legal world was abuzz on Monday thanks to a story in British legal newspaper The Lawyer, which reported that 745-lawyer Simpson Thacher & Bartlett — an old-line New York firm with $966 million in revenue and profits per partner of nearly $3 million last year — was clandestinely trimming its associate ranks by roughly 30 lawyers through midyear performance reviews.

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