The most successful Biglaw firm in the world has reportedly conducted stealth layoffs across at least four of its office. This is the second time in less than six months that the firm has laid off associates.
According to Bloomberg Law, Kirkland — which brought home $6,042,000,000 gross revenue in 2021 — recently parted ways with “an unknown number of associates.” The layoffs occurred following performance reviews at the firm’s California, Texas, Chicago, and Salt Lake City offices. Here are some additional details:
Laid off Kirkland associates will receive full salary and benefits and stay on the firm’s website until July 31st, said a Kirkland associate who was included in the cuts.
“It’s been frustrating to see what looks like reckless overhiring,” the Kirkland associate said.
Ugh, what’s that smell? This absolutely reeks of the classic form of stealth layoffs. For those who might be hearing the term for the first time, stealth layoffs allow firms to cut headcount without confirming financially motivated layoffs. The firm will let associates go or give the associates X number of months/weeks to find a new job and the firm frequently couches the reductions in terms of performance, that coincidentally, happen in the midst of an economic downturn — or perhaps in this case, in the wake of a post-pandemic hiring bonanza that can no longer be supported. This toxic business practice is designed to push the blame for the cuts on the associates themselves, when, if the economy remained just a bit stronger, those same associates would likely still be getting stellar reviews and full bonuses.
Best of luck to those who are being let go from Kirkland & Ellis.
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Kirkland & Ellis Lays Off Associates Across US Offices [Bloomberg Law]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
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