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Why Big Law Layoffs Aren’t a Return to the Dark Days (Podcast)

Nov. 15, 2022, 9:12 PM

If you’re an attorney who lived through the dark days of the Great Recession, you could be forgiven for having flashbacks after reading a recent story by Bloomberg Law’s Roy Strom and Meghan Tribe.

Listen here and subscribe to On The Merits on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Megaphone, or Audible.

They reported that several heavy hitters in Big Law, including Cooley LLP and Kirkland & Ellis, have laid off attorneys in recent months. Other firms are expected to follow suit next year. But they also spoke to several industry watchers who say this isn’t Great Recession 2.0.

For one, global economic conditions aren’t as bad—at least not yet. And demand for legal services is still robust, even if not at the frenzied levels it was earlier this year and last year.

Tribe joins our weekly legal news podcast, On The Merits, to talk about why firms are following a mega-profitable 2021 with layoffs in 2022. We also hear from Bloomberg Law video producer Macarena Carrizosa about one of the main drivers of legal industry volatility—the billable hour—and whether moving to a new compensation system is advisable or even possible.

Do you have feedback on this episode of On The Merits? Give us a call and leave a voicemail at 703-341-3690.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Schultz in Washington at dschultz@bloombergindustry.com