Sonnenschein layoffs add to US legal market woes

Sonnenschein layoffs add to US legal market woesSonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal has become the latest US firm to announce layoffs, with the Chicago-based firm making a total of 124 staff redundant.

The firm confirmed today (28 May) that it was laying off 37 lawyers, including six partners, four counsel and 27 associates, ranging from first year to senior level. Sonnenschein is also making 12 paralegals redundant.

The real estate and litigation practice groups are the two most affected across the firm’s network.

Sonnenschein chairman Elliott Portnoy told US blog Above the Law that the lay-offs were not performance related but were the result of changing client activity following the economic downturn. Portnoy added the firm’s decision to go public with the job cuts stemmed from its wish to be open and transparent.

The employees were informed of the lay-offs last Friday (23 May) before a firm-wide voicemail was sent to all Sonnenschein staff.

Lawyers and staff were addressed in a series of meetings today (28 May) addressing the changes across the firm.

The move comes after Sonnenschein shortened it summer programme earlier this year to 10 weeks.