Despite receiving bonuses and high marks for strong performance at the beginning of the year, some associates at Cooley’s Bay Area and New York offices were laid off anyway between August and October as hours dried up in the firm’s capital markets and venture capital practices.

While the firm characterized the layoffs as part of an annual midyear associate performance review process, a former Cooley associate who quit the firm during the layoffs disputed the firm’s justification. Three recruiters who have recently worked with Cooley associates confirmed that not all cuts were tied to performance issues, adding that some lawyers’ declining billables served as their only notice.

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