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Stroock Lays Off Associates, Staff Amid Big Law Belt-Tightening

Jan. 9, 2023, 4:55 PM

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan has laid off nine lawyers and 18 staff as the firm looks to right-size amid what it called a “slowdown” that has caused a handful of other firms to take similar steps.

The layoffs came after a “comprehensive review” of the firm’s practice groups and the demand they anticipate, the firm said in a statement.

“In light of the current slowdown, we determined that we had more attorney and staff resources than we needed for the foreseeable future,” the statement said. “Therefore, we decided to separate from nine non-partner attorneys and 18 staff/business professionals, with severance and other support being provided to help ease the transition. We wish our colleagues the best in their future endeavors.”

Layoffs have so far struck firms including Goodwin Procter, Kirkland & Ellis, Cooley, and Gunderson Dettmer. Many of the moves have come at firms heavily weighted toward tech clients, which themselves have slashed budgets and laid off employees.

Firms have often cited an attempt to right-size their lawyer headcounts following a boom in hiring during a record-setting 2021 powered by mergers and acquisitions and capital markets practices.

Stroock was the 128th largest law firm by revenue in the US in 2021, according to AmLaw data, bringing in $274 million. It punches above its weight from a profitability perspective, with its partners earning $2.3 million on average.

Last year, Stroock saw dozens of bankruptcy lawyers, including nearly 20 partners, depart for Paul Hastings. Lawyers from that group last month won a plum position as lead lawyers for the creditors committee in the cryptocurrency exchange FTX’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Stroock responded months later by hiring six restructuring attorneys from Luskin, Stern & Eisler in New York.

The American Lawyer first reported Stroock’s layoffs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

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