The Am Law 100: No easy answers
After five consecutive years of increasing their ranks and regarding layoffs as anathema, Am Law 100 firms abruptly changed course in 2009, blanketing their workforce with pink slips. Facing a deepening global recession, a dramatic decline in demand and pressure from clients to reduce costs, Am Law 100 firms laid off more than 3,000 lawyers, slashed the size of their incoming associate classes and pushed start dates back for months. The pain was as widespread as it was deep: 54 Am Law 100 firms reduced their total headcount last year, compared to only 22 of those 100 firms in 2008, and eight firms in 2007.
Am Law 100 firms laid off thousands of lawyers in 2009. Figuring out whether that was a smart business decision could take years. Amy Kolz reports
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