US firm Latham & Watkins is to lay off a total of 440 employees across its global network.
Earlier this morning managing partner Bob Dell emailed the entire firm announcing a plan to shed 12 per cent of its associate ranks, the equivalent of 190 people, and 10 per cent of all paralegals and staff.
The firm’s London office will lose 15 employees.
Dell said: “We deeply appreciate the many valuable contributions and committed service of those affected by this decision.
“We made this painful decision with great reluctance and only after concluding that demand for legal services in this troubled economy will not provide enough work for all of our attorneys.”
Dell added that the firm’s diverse global network and practice range was built to thrive on greater demand.
He added: “While this brief email announcement is not an ideal form for communicating this type of decision, it’s the only realistic way for a firm of our size to inform everyone directly and at the same time.”
The firm is offering severance packages that include six months’ salary and six months’ of continued medical benefits.
The announcement comes after Latham saw its average profits per equity partner (PEP) fell 21 per cent from $2.27m to $1.8m during 2008.