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Hogan Lovells Turns to Layoffs for 4% of Americas-Based Staff

Oct. 23, 2020, 8:05 PM

Hogan Lovells confirmed Friday it is laying off nearly 4% of its business services staff in the Americas as the effects of the coronavirus crisis cause continuing uncertainty in the legal industry.

Hogan Lovells has started a restructuring program in the Americas and in its U.K. offices, the firm said in a statement to Bloomberg Law. The firm said 43 business services roles are being impacted by layoffs in the U.S. and Mexico, representing around 4% of the firm’s total business services roles in the Americas.

In the U.K. the firm is starting a voluntary redundancy program for business services and secretarial staff. While there are no fixed numbers for the U.K. program, which should be completed by early November, there are no plans for compulsory redundancies in the U.K. or further reductions in the U.S. this year, the firm said.

“We have performed well over the past few months and ahead of where we were this time last year in terms of revenues and we have also done well in ensuring that our discretionary costs have been kept to a minimum,” said Hogan Lovells CEO Miguel Zaldivar in a statement to Bloomberg Law.

“However, we see continuing uncertainties in the market for 2021 and need to be well-positioned to weather what could be a more challenging period,” he added, calling the moves to reduce staff “not easy decisions to take.”

The announcement of the layoffs come just a month after the firm reversed course on some austerity measures it implemented earlier this year in response to the economic crisis brought about by Covid-19.

“Even without the pandemic we would have been making some changes to the structure of our business services teams as part of our continuing program of ensuring the shape of our business is right for the needs of our clients,” said Zaldivar, who took over as CEO of Hogan Lovells this summer from Stephen Immelt.
With these cuts, Hogan Lovells becomes the latest Big Law firm to trim its staff ranks in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic forces law firms to rethink their current models, including addressing their staffing needs as more workplaces go remote.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom laid off just fewer than 4% of its professional staff across its U.S. offices. and Baker McKenzie said it would be reducing its North American workforce by 6%.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Nixon Peabody, Squire Patton Boggs, Venable, and Winston & Strawn have all also laid off employees since the pandemic took hold.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Tom P. Taylor at ttaylor@bloomberglaw.com

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