Fried Frank makes 99 redundant

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson has confirmed it is laying off lawyers and staff as a result of the economic downturn.

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson has confirmed it is laying off lawyers and staff as a result of the economic downturn.

The US firm’s joint managing partners Valerie Jacob and Justin Spendlove said in a statement today that Fried Frank would be reducing its US workforce by a total of 99 people, or 41 associates and 58 administrative staff.

“The markets’ decline shows little sign of slowing, and many of our clients’ businesses are changing,” the statement, which first appeared on US legal blog Abovethelaw.com, said. “To meet the challenges of these changes and after careful review, we have decided to reduce the number of our lawyers and staff, much like many other law firms around the country have found it necessary to do.”

The statement also said that Fried Frank was deferring the start date for its incoming fall 2009 class of associates to 28 January 2010, with those affected receiving a $10,000 stipend.

“We are also offering an opportunity for members of the fall 2009 class to defer until the fall 2010,” the statement said. “We are encouraging those associates to develop their legal skills by pursuing a public interest or government position or by volunteering with a legal, political or community-based organisation. Those who elect this deferral will receive a stipend of $70,000 plus health benefits.”

In another cost-cutting measure, Fried Frank confirmed that it had cut both of its summer associate programmes in New York and Washington DC by two weeks from 12 to 10.

Earlier this month Fried Frank posted year-end results that revealed one of the largest drops in average profits of any US firm. Average profit per equity partner at the corporate and M&A-focused firm fell 23 per cent to $1.23m in 2008 while total revenue was also down, by 9 per cent to $488m.