Bloomberg Law
Feb. 7, 2023, 9:36 PMUpdated: Feb. 7, 2023, 10:35 PM

Davis Wright Tremaine Cuts Staff, Citing ‘Excess Capacity’ (1)

Meghan Tribe
Meghan Tribe

Davis Wright Tremaine has laid off 21 staff employees, making it the latest Big Law firm to trim headcount amid changing market conditions.

The cuts at the Seattle-founded firm were announced on Tuesday in a memo sent by Scott MacCormack, Davis Wright Tremaine’s managing partner, which was viewed by Bloomberg Law.

“We unfortunately had to lay off some staff in areas where we either had excess capacity or redundancy and misalignment,” MacCormack said in an email to Bloomberg Law. “These adjustments enable us to recruit for and make investments in the areas of strategic importance or high demand,” he said.

Other lare law firms have trimmed their ranks in recent months.

Cooley LLP announced in the fall that it would be laying off 150 lawyers and staff to adjust for slowing demand. Goodwin Procter said earlier this year that it was laying off associates, paralegals, and other professional staff across its offices, while Stroock & Stroock & Lavan cut nine lawyers and 18 staff positions.

Corporate transaction work continues to slow, said Katherine Loanzon, managing director at legal headhunting firm Kinney Recruiting. This has prompted some firms to slash payroll costs.

“As for staff layoffs, I would not be surprised to see more in the coming weeks and months from firms that haven’t seen an uptick in work,” she said.

Laid off staff members at Davis Wright Tremaine will get severance packages and outplacement services, MacCormack said in the memo. The firm “remains in a strong place,” he said, and will continue to recruit and invest in areas that “provide opportunities for sustained growth and success.”

The firm reported more than $482 million in gross revenue in 2021, the most recent year for which figures are available, according to data from The American Lawyer. That put it among the 100 largest law firms in the country.

This isn’t the first time that Davis Wright Tremaine has trimmed labor costs.

The firm implemented a series of salary cuts, staff furloughs, and reductions in equity partner distributions in April 2020 as law firms across the country struggled to navigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The firm evenutally walked back some of those austerity measures in September 2020, but also made some staff furloughs permanent.

(Updated with comment from Loanzon and additional information about previous cuts at Davis Wright Tremaine)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at; John Hughes at