Orrick Herrington & Sutcliff announced this morning that the firm will be laying off approximately 100 associates and 200 staff across its U.S., Asian, and European offices, The AmLaw Daily reports.
Details about how many lawyers will be affected in the firm's D.C. office were not yet available.
This round of layoffs follows an earlier round in November, when Orrick pink-slipped 40 lawyers and 35 staff members.
In a news release this morning, the firm says the layoffs come as a result of the ongoing economic downturn, and "these actions are unrelated to performance." The firm will be providing three months severance and outplacement services to the affected lawyers.
The firm has also delayed the start of its 2009 associate class until 2010.
UPDATE (1:48 p.m.): Orrick chairman Ralph Baxter tells the BLT that the layoffs were regrettable yet unavoidable.
"We needed to do this, and we needed to do this now," Baxter says. "For now these are the steps we thought were the most appropriate. It just makes fundamental economic sense."
Baxter says that this round of layoffs came as a result of the firm not knowing how bad the economic crisis would get, especially after major players like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers went under. "Had we not done the first layoffs, which were the first in the firm's history, we would have had to do more this time," he says. "What we weren't able to see at the time [of the first layoffs] was whether the economic crisis would hit the financial institutions as hard it did."
Baxter says that as Orrick moves forward, the firm plans to restructure its structured finance practice and to rely more heavily on alternative fee arrancements with clients. Baxter adds that the firm plans to build up its office in Wheeling, West Virgina, which he says is a much lower-cost facility than offices in major cities like Washington and New York.