Goodwin Procter Layoffs

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KM2016
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Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby KM2016 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:40 pm

Goodwin Procter just axed part of their litigation department. Ouch.

http://abovethelaw.com/2015/03/nationwide-layoff-watch-biglaw-firm-lays-off-30/

Seems strange given that they had a good year:

"Building off a record year in 2013, Goodwin Procter saw gross revenues rise again in 2014, this time by 4.4 percent, to $785.5 million, according to The American Lawyer’s reporting. Revenue per lawyer increased by 6.1 percent, to $1.04 million, while profits per partner at the 755-lawyer firm grew 7.4 percent, to $1.75 million...

'Some of the litigation is growing and some is not,' says Insolia, indicating that the firm has felt the hit as litigation for one of its biggest clients, Bank of America, winds down. The Charlotte-based banking giant reached a historic $16.6 billion settlement with the U.S. government in August.

'We aren’t concerned about it, we are happy about it,' he says. 'It’s our goal to help them get rid of that litigation.'" -Am Law
Last edited by KM2016 on Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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cookiejar1
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby cookiejar1 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:41 pm

They only laid off 2 percent… of total headcount. They did, however, drop about 20 percent of their litigation associates — to the extent the firm’s website, which shows 101 total litigation associates, is to be believed. That’s a tremendous miss.


ouch

Anonymous User
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:52 pm

are they all general litigation associates? GP associate should have no problem to pick positions in lower rank firms.

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DELG
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby DELG » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:are they all general litigation associates? GP associate should have no problem to pick positions in lower rank firms.

looool

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sublime
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby sublime » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:55 pm

..

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:04 pm

KM2016 wrote:'We aren’t concerned about it, we are happy about it,' he says. 'It’s our goal to help them get rid of that litigation.'" -Am Law

lol

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:05 pm

That sucks for those associates. Most of them probably just had 2500+ hour years. Should at least let them work for a year with 1500 hours before axing them. Or wait for your firm profits to stop increasing at 5% a year.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:05 pm

DELG wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:are they all general litigation associates? GP associate should have no problem to pick positions in lower rank firms.

looool


Anonymous to avoid being outed as an idiot

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DELG
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby DELG » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:08 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
KM2016 wrote:'We aren’t concerned about it, we are happy about it,' he says. 'It’s our goal to help them get rid of that litigation.'" -Am Law

lol

Shitigation

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rpupkin
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby rpupkin » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:17 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:That sucks for those associates. Most of them probably just had 2500+ hour years. Should at least let them work for a year with 1500 hours before axing them. Or wait for your firm profits to stop increasing at 5% a year.

I kinda doubt that, actually. If you're concerned about your firm's profitability (as Goodwin clearly is), you generally don't lay off associates who are able and willing to bill 2,500+ hours.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:23 pm

rpupkin wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:That sucks for those associates. Most of them probably just had 2500+ hour years. Should at least let them work for a year with 1500 hours before axing them. Or wait for your firm profits to stop increasing at 5% a year.

I kinda doubt that, actually. If you're concerned about your firm's profitability (as Goodwin clearly is), you generally don't lay off associates who are able and willing to bill 2,500+ hours.


Sounds like the firm preemptively acted knowing they didn't have work to goaround for them after they were staffed only on this BoA case. It's not unusual to bill 2500 in a year your case goes to litigation. The firm didnt have enough projects to staff 30+ people on them and just axed them. The move is clearly a sign the firm didn't have the work, not a question into the people that got fired work ethic. I would bet my entire life savings at least one of those people fired billed 2500. And it wouldnt surprise if over half billed 2500 on a major matter like that.

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052220152
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby 052220152 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:28 pm

i know who to not bid now

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DELG
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby DELG » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:44 pm

rpupkin wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:That sucks for those associates. Most of them probably just had 2500+ hour years. Should at least let them work for a year with 1500 hours before axing them. Or wait for your firm profits to stop increasing at 5% a year.

I kinda doubt that, actually. If you're concerned about your firm's profitability (as Goodwin clearly is), you generally don't lay off associates who are able and willing to bill 2,500+ hours.

How are they "able" if you don't have the work for them to bill to

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052220152
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby 052220152 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:53 pm

how often does this happen? a big firm has one super giant matter and when it settles they drop weight?

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rpupkin
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby rpupkin » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:57 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
rpupkin wrote:I kinda doubt that, actually. If you're concerned about your firm's profitability (as Goodwin clearly is), you generally don't lay off associates who are able and willing to bill 2,500+ hours.

Sounds like the firm preemptively acted knowing they didn't have work to goaround for them after they were staffed only on this BoA case. It's not unusual to bill 2500 in a year your case goes to litigation.

Do you mean if your case goes to trial? I've worked at a big law firm office where a big case went to trial. And the associates working on that trial were billing 300+ hours a month. But just in my office alone (not to mention the entire firm) there were several litigation associates who weren't working on that case. And there are always a few associates billing under 2,000 hours for one reason or another, even when the firm is crazy busy. I bet it's those associates who were targeted for the layoffs at Goodwin.

I would bet my entire life savings at least one of those people fired billed 2500. And it wouldnt surprise if over half billed 2500 on a major matter like that.

Well, you're quite confident. I just don't think that's how big law firms make decisions. They laid off 14 associates, not 50. They wouldn't have had to cut into the 2,500+ hour associates. I guess it's possible they went by pure seniority and there were a couple of first years who had just billed 2,500+ hours and then got laid off. But I doubt it.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:00 pm

Jim Jones wrote:how often does this happen? a big firm has one super giant matter and when it settles they drop weight?


It used to be extremely rare but is getting more common.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:08 pm

rpupkin wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:
rpupkin wrote:I kinda doubt that, actually. If you're concerned about your firm's profitability (as Goodwin clearly is), you generally don't lay off associates who are able and willing to bill 2,500+ hours.

Sounds like the firm preemptively acted knowing they didn't have work to goaround for them after they were staffed only on this BoA case. It's not unusual to bill 2500 in a year your case goes to litigation.

Do you mean if your case goes to trial? I've worked at a big law firm office where a big case went to trial. And the associates working on that trial were billing 300+ hours a month. But just in my office alone (not to mention the entire firm) there were several litigation associates who weren't working on that case. And there are always a few associates billing under 2,000 hours for one reason or another, even when the firm is crazy busy. I bet it's those associates who were targeted for the layoffs at Goodwin.

I would bet my entire life savings at least one of those people fired billed 2500. And it wouldnt surprise if over half billed 2500 on a major matter like that.

Well, you're quite confident. I just don't think that's how big law firms make decisions. They laid off 14 associates, not 50. They wouldn't have had to cut into the 2,500+ hour associates. I guess it's possible they went by pure seniority and there were a couple of first years who had just billed 2,500+ hours and then got laid off. But I doubt it.


You mean from your summer associate days? I don't think you understand how this works. So people who are staffed on cases have work. So these 14 associates that were laid off were probably all exclusively staffed on BoA case. The case ends and the firm has a partners meeting about what to staff these 14 associates on that just spent their whole year billing almost exclusively to this one matter. The partners realize oh we don't have the incoming work to staff them on new cases and we don't have the need to staff them on currently pending matters. So you keep a couple of the best and then you scrap the rest because you don't have any cases to staff them on.
Since you "know" how this works from your "experience" why would a firm layoff people that have worked on an active case for a couple years and built up knowledge about the case while the case is still pending? It's almost a guarantee everyone that was laid off was working on the BoA case. Not that the firm assessed everyones hours and restaffed people from BoA to a pending matter and laid off the guy on the pending matter that had been on the pending matter for 2+ years.

As to Jim Jones, I don't know how common it is, but there was a 6th year at my firm who had worked on one case his entire time with the firm and primarily billed to that client. He dipped and took a class year cut to go to a new firm before trial because he was worried about the above. Maybe he was a little paranoid, but I don't think its unheard of to trim some fat (a person or two). This is just a lot more fat than is usually trimmed.

nickelanddime
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby nickelanddime » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:12 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:
rpupkin wrote:I kinda doubt that, actually. If you're concerned about your firm's profitability (as Goodwin clearly is), you generally don't lay off associates who are able and willing to bill 2,500+ hours.

Sounds like the firm preemptively acted knowing they didn't have work to goaround for them after they were staffed only on this BoA case. It's not unusual to bill 2500 in a year your case goes to litigation.

Do you mean if your case goes to trial? I've worked at a big law firm office where a big case went to trial. And the associates working on that trial were billing 300+ hours a month. But just in my office alone (not to mention the entire firm) there were several litigation associates who weren't working on that case. And there are always a few associates billing under 2,000 hours for one reason or another, even when the firm is crazy busy. I bet it's those associates who were targeted for the layoffs at Goodwin.

I would bet my entire life savings at least one of those people fired billed 2500. And it wouldnt surprise if over half billed 2500 on a major matter like that.

Well, you're quite confident. I just don't think that's how big law firms make decisions. They laid off 14 associates, not 50. They wouldn't have had to cut into the 2,500+ hour associates. I guess it's possible they went by pure seniority and there were a couple of first years who had just billed 2,500+ hours and then got laid off. But I doubt it.


You mean from your summer associate days? I don't think you understand how this works. So people who are staffed on cases have work. So these 14 associates that were laid off were probably all exclusively staffed on BoA case. The case ends and the firm has a partners meeting about what to staff these 14 associates on that just spent their whole year billing almost exclusively to this one matter. The partners realize oh we don't have the incoming work to staff them on new cases and we don't have the need to staff them on currently pending matters. So you keep a couple of the best and then you scrap the rest because you don't have any cases to staff them on.
Since you "know" how this works from your "experience" why would a firm layoff people that have worked on an active case for a couple years and built up knowledge about the case while the case is still pending? It's almost a guarantee everyone that was laid off was working on the BoA case. Not that the firm assessed everyones hours and restaffed people from BoA to a pending matter and laid off the guy on the pending matter that had been on the pending matter for 2+ years.

As to Jim Jones, I don't know how common it is, but there was a 6th year at my firm who had worked on one case his entire time with the firm and primarily billed to that client. He dipped and took a class year cut to go to a new firm before trial because he was worried about the above. Maybe he was a little paranoid, but I don't think its unheard of to trim some fat (a person or two). This is just a lot more fat than is usually trimmed.



It's not difficult to reassign associates to matters and in fact, happens all the time. We're in a high turnover industry and firms are used to this.

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rpupkin
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby rpupkin » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:17 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:Since you "know" how this works from your "experience" why would a firm layoff people that have worked on an active case for a couple years

Dude, why are you putting quotes around "know"? I never said I "know" about what happened at Goodwin. You're the one with all the certainty and hyperbole ("I would bet my entire life savings . . . .").

As for your "summer associate" jab, I worked in big law for a year, then I clerked for a year, and I've worked for a year in a litigation boutique. What's your background?

By the way, I think the point you raise about the nature of case staffing is a good one. I think it's plausible that Goodwin just decided to let all the associates go who were tied up for a year on a single matter. But of course they could have handled it differently. I just don't get what you're so fucking certain about.

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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:26 pm

I'm certain that some people who worked their ass off just got canned. That's what my point is. And it has more to do with them being unlucky than slackers, probably. I was just saying shit like this sucks, which I thought was a fairly noncontroversial statement.

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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby runinthefront » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:38 pm

Jim Jones wrote:i know who to not bid now

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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby Cogburn87 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:41 pm

nickelanddime wrote:
It's not difficult to reassign associates to matters and in fact, happens all the time. We're in a high turnover industry and firms are used to this.


Going to have to disagree. I would imagine it's very difficult to reassign associates to matters that don't exist.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby Desert Fox » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:44 pm

Jim Jones wrote:how often does this happen? a big firm has one super giant matter and when it settles they drop weight?


normally they don't pwn people right away. But your hours slip, you get a shitty review, and then get ur walking papers.

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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:49 pm

Jim Jones wrote:how often does this happen? a big firm has one super giant matter and when it settles they drop weight?

Weil dropped everyone on a big BK once it was confirmed. Happens but not often.

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052220152
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Re: Goodwin Procter Layoffs

Postby 052220152 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:50 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Jim Jones wrote:how often does this happen? a big firm has one super giant matter and when it settles they drop weight?


normally they don't pwn people right away. But your hours slip, you get a shitty review, and then get ur walking papers.


i was under the impression that if a layoff like this is coming because of lack of work, or just wanting to cut weight, they let you know a bit in advance so you can start a job search. is this a fairy tale or just true of certain firms?




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