DLA Piper is laying off 80 associates in its U.S. offices. The international law firm also is cutting loose of about 100 staffers stateside. The announcement, made to attorneys and employees on Thursday, followed the firm’s decision earlier in the week to let go of 30 attorneys and 110 staffers in its U.K. offices.
The majority of the associates are in its corporate finance and real estate practices, said Francis B. Burch Jr., chairman of the 3,800-attorney firm’s global board. The downsizing will affect the New York office the most, where the firm will trim 16 associates. It is laying off 12 associates in Chicago. The other reductions are primarily on the West Coast. DLA Piper has about 1,370 attorneys in the United States.
Burch cited “prudent business management” as the reason for the reductions. “We need to be the right size going forward,” he said. “It’s necessary so that the vast majority of the firm can get to work and not be worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
The associates laid off have varying degrees of experience, Burch said. They were given 12 weeks of severance in addition to outplacement assistance. No equity or nonequity partners were let go, he said.
The cuts in support staff were necessary, Burch said, partly because of redundancies created through the firm’s mergers in recent years. “We were overstaffed on the secretarial side,” he said.
DLA Piper, the largest law firm on the NLJ 250, The National Law Journal‘s annual survey of the nation’s largest law firms, was formed from the 2005 merger of San Diego-based Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich and London-based DLA with Piper Rudnick.
DLA Piper’s move is the latest in a long list of layoffs at law firms amid the economic downturn. In February alone, more than 500 attorneys and staffers total have been let go at Goodwin Procter; Bryan Cave; Dechert; Nixon Peabody; McDermott Will & Emery; Clifford Chance; and Linklaters.