Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft cuts London by a fifth

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft cuts London by a fifthCadwalader Wickersham & Taft has axed 20 per cent of its London lawyers as part of the cull of 96 lawyers across the firm.

Yesterday Cadwalader announced that it was laying off 96 lawyers across its offices in the US and UK (, 30 July), and today The Lawyer can reveal that 11 of those jobs will be lost in London – over a fifth of the London workforce.

The desperate cost-cutting measures have even led the firm to cancel the summer party that it had planned for Friday.

it is understood that about 60 of the redundancies come from New York, 11 in London, two in Washington DC and the remainder (around 20) from Charlotte.

Cadwalader has 12 partners in London, most of them working in capital markets.

It has no managing partner in London as the firm preferred to run things from New York following the departure of former UK managing partner Andrew Wilkinson for Goldman Sachs in March 2007.

Litigation partner Michelle Duncan was installed as an administrative head, but has no responsibility for strategy, hiring or firing.

The cuts are all being made in Cadwalader’s capital markets and global finance groups. In a statement, Cadwalader blamed the continuing “very significant slowdown” in the real estate finance and securitisation markets, which began a year ago. 

“With CMBS issuance down 82 per cent in 2008, it appears that the real estate finance and securitisation businesses will remain slow for the foreseeable future,” the firm added.

In January, Cadwalader laid off 35 lawyers across its US offices, with the firm then blaming “unexpected and persistent volatility” in sectors of the financial markets that had affected the capital markets.

For comment on the US end of the Cadwalader redundancies, see The Lawyer in New York.