Bryan Cave adds to US woes with 134 layoffs

Bryan Cave has announced a round of lawyer and support staff layoffs, the latest in a string of US firms to reveal job cuts today.

In addition to the job cuts, the firm has also confirmed that it will not increase its associate salaries for 2009.

In a memo from firm chairman Don Lents, Bryan Cave confirmed that it was laying off 58 lawyers and 76 staff, totals that represent about 5 per cent of the firm’s lawyers and 6 per cent of its staff.

“We’re currently facing the most difficult economic conditions most of us have ever encountered,” said Lents. “Unfortunately, the economy has continued to deteriorate and we’ve concluded that further steps are necessary to adapt to this business climate.”

Bryan Cave did not outline the offices from which lawyers would be laid off. However, sources close to the firm confirmed that London would be affected. It is not yet clear how many lawyers from Bryan Cave’s City office would be made redundant.

Last year was one of relative expansion for Bryan Cave. Just last month the firm officially merged with the Atlanta-based Powell Goldstein while in December it launched an office in Paris following a three-partner raid on Dechert (2 Dec 2008).

In March, Bryan Cave also ramped up its presence in California with the launch of a San Francisco office (17 March 2008).

The London office of the US firm has also shown significant growth in recent years, posting a 22.4 per cent jump in turnover for 2007 to $28.4m (25 Feb 2008).