Law firm Shearman & Sterling lays off more staff

  • Shearman & Sterling is laying off an unspecified number of business services professionals
  • The firm trimmed lawyers and staff in February

(Reuters) – Shearman & Sterling confirmed on Wednesday that it is conducting a new round of staff reductions, joining other US law firms that have shed business professional roles in the past few months.

The New York-founded firm is laying off an unspecified number of people as part of a “global reduction of our Business Services workforce,” a spokesperson said, describing the move as a chance to “refine and right-size” and “part of a continuous review process.”

Robert Brown and Geline Midouin, who were appointed co-executive directors of Sherman & Sterling in January, said in an internal memo that the firm will inform affected people in the Americas this week and those in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia -Pacific region in the coming weeks.

The reduction was first reported by the legal blog Above the Law. The firm spokesperson declined to specify how many positions were being cut.

Shearman last week elected Adam Hakki as its new leader, which took effect April 6. The firm had previously said in March that it was accelerating Hakki’s transition to replace outgoing senior partner David Beveridge.

Shearman is one of several big law firms to lay off employees since late last year. The firm in February cut 12 associates and 26 business services professionals in the United States, citing a need to “align our capacity levels with existing client demands.”

Last week, technology-focused law firm Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian laid off 10% of attorneys, paralegals and staff in its US offices. The firm, like several others that have let go of lawyers and staff, attributed the move to macroeconomic and market conditions.

Firms are facing cooling demand from corporate clients as global M&A activity slows down. The total value of global announced M&A deals in the first quarter of 2023 dropped 44% compared to the same period last year, shrinking to $580 billion, according to data released last week by Refinitiv.

Cooley, Goodwin Procter, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, Davis Wright Tremaine, Perkins Coie and Lowenstein Sandler are among the law firms that have let go of attorneys, staff or both in recent months.

The US legal services sector lost 600 jobs in March, new Labor Department figures showed last week, marking the first monthly employment decline for the industry since September.

The reduction at Shearman comes as the firm has seen at least 20 partners leave since October, especially outside the United States.

The firm also recently ended merger talks with larger rival Hogan Lovells.

Read more:

US legal jobs decline for the first time in six months

Law firm Shearman & Sterling names new leader after merger talks fail

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Sara Merken

Thomson Reuters

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 protected]

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