- Law firms
- Boston-founded Goodwin said it was overstaffed after growing rapidly since 2019
- Firm cited macroeconomic headwinds facing its clients
(Reuters) – U.S. law firm Goodwin Procter has laid off lawyers, paralegals and other professionals in its U.S. offices, informing employees on Thursday that “current staffing levels are too high for our current and projected demand.”
The cuts include 5% of the firm’s U.S. associates, professional track attorneys, paralegals, science advisors and operations staff, Goodwin chairman Rob Insolia and managing partner Mark Bettencourt said in an internal memo viewed by Reuters.
The Thursday memo said Goodwin’s lawyer head count had grown by 60% since October 2019.
“While overall we remain busy, demand has dropped from its extraordinary heights of the past several years,” the Boston-founded firm’s leaders said. “This is true not only for our firm, but for the legal industry overall.”
A firm spokesperson said it would not comment further.
Goodwin is known for its life sciences, technology and private equity work. The firm has nearly 2,000 lawyers, according to its website. It generated about $1.97 billion in revenue in 2021, placing it among the top 20 U.S. law firms that year, according to figures reported by the American Lawyer.
Many large law firms saw a drop in demand last year amid a slowdown in the M&A work that helped fuel many firms’ bottom lines in 2021. Firms also hired lawyers at record rates to handle the surge of transactional work and other client matters, and some are now contending with how to handle swollen attorney ranks.
Silicon Valley-founded law firm Cooley said in November that it laid off 150 U.S. employees, including 78 lawyers. The firm said in an internal email that certain practice groups were “substantially overbuilt” after aggressive hiring to meet soaring demand in 2020 and 2021.
Overall client demand dropped 1.2% for U.S. law firms through the first nine months of 2022 compared to the same period the prior year, with bigger firms hit even harder, Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group and Hildebrandt Consulting said in an annual report.
Goodwin advised on the most global announced M&A deals of any law firm in 2022, new Refinitiv data this week showed. However, the combined value of all announced deals last year dropped 37% to $3.6 trillion from 2021’s record-breaking $5.9 trillion.
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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at email@example.com