Layoffs Hit Seyfarth Shaw

Labor and employment law firm Seyfarth Shaw has conducted a round of layoffs that affect both attorneys and staff, Big Law Business has learned.

One source who was briefed on the layoffs said the downsizing affects 40 lawyers, including associates and counsel, as well as 27 staff members. A Seyfarth spokesman said all U.S. offices and departments were affected, but did not provide specifics.

The news was first reported by Above the Law.

Seyfarth chair Pete Miller issued a statement on Tuesday that addressed the news.

“Amid a shifting market for legal services, we have an obligation to continue to manage our business as effectively as possible, while being responsive to the needs of our clients and the market at large,” said Miller. “We’ve recently completed a careful review of our business to maximize performance and best serve our clients, while continuing to execute our growth plans.”

The statement continued: “To meet these objectives, we have made the difficult yet necessary decision that some individuals, both lawyers and staff, will be leaving the firm. We are grateful for the contributions of those impacted, appreciate their service and are working to ensure their transitions are as smooth as possible.”

Further information about which practice areas and geographies were hit and why wasn’t immediately clear.

The source who spoke to Big Law Business refused to speak publicly to preserve work relationships. He attributed the downsizing to a slow real estate practice, and said layoffs were mainly for “low billable associates,” but noted that some counsel and senior counsel were laid off in the firm’s employee benefits department.

A second source confirmed the layoffs and said it came after the firm experienced an “off” quarter of financial performance in 2017.

In the most recent American Lawyer financial rankings, Seyfarth grossed $623.5 million in 2016, up 5.7 percent from the previous year. It staffed 847 lawyers and 198 equity partners, the publication reported. Its profits per partner stood at $1 million, a 3 percent increase from the previous year.

In his statement, Miller, the Seyfarth chair, closed by saying the firm remains “strong, focused, and growth-oriented as we approach the midpoint of the year.”

Have any information about the news? Send us tips at BigLawBusiness@bna.com.

[UPDATED: This story has been updated to include additional information about the layoffs from a second source.]

 

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