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Cooley Lays Off 150 Attorneys and Staff Across US Offices (2)

Nov. 30, 2022, 8:50 PMUpdated: Nov. 30, 2022, 11:10 PM

Cooley has laid off 150 attorneys and staff in what the law firm is calling a “painful but necessary” step to adjust for slowing demand.

The firm has let go of 78 attorneys and 72 paralegals and business personnel through its US offices, Chairman Joseph Conroy said Wednesday in an internal email obtained by Bloomberg Law.

A majority of the reductions came from the firm’s corporate team and primarily consisted of associates and a few counsel, a person familiar with the matter said. No partners were a part of the reductions, and there are no plans for further cuts, the person said.

“Simply put, we hired more talent than we can reasonably develop, train and deploy against current and anticipated client demand,” Conroy said.

This is the second round of layoffs undertaken by the tech-focused firm, which earlier this year showed the exit to a group of associates amid a downturn in deals and other work. Cooley described the previous cuts as performance-based decisions, rather than layoffs.

Cooley was one of the top recruiting firms during the pandemic, scooping up partners and associates from rivals. Shifting economic conditions have stalled booming capital markets and mergers and acquisitions activity this year.

“Ultimately, however, our recruiting success proved to be misaligned with the unexpected economic downturn that has occurred and will likely persist well into the year ahead,” Conroy said.

“The result is that some of our practice groups and administrative functions are substantially overbuilt.”

The firm is offering “comprehensive severance benefits” to laid off lawyers and staff, Conroy said.

(Adds layoff details in third paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com