Venable announced today that the firm will be laying off 16 lawyers, five paralegals, and 43 other staff members.
The cuts constitute 3 percent of the firm’s attorney ranks, 7 percent of its paralegals, and 8 percent of its staff. Information about how many people would be affected in the firm’s Washington office or whether the cuts will affect partners was not immediately available. The layoffs were first reported by Above the Law.
Venable will be providing severance packages that include health care coverage through June 30 and outplacement services.
Citing the ongoing economic downturn, an internal e-mail from Chairman James Shea and Managing Partner Karl Racine says the firm will also delay the start of this year’s associate class from September to Jan. 4, 2010. The firm will be paying bar exam preparations and will provide the incoming class with a $10,000 stipend.
Here is the memo sent out by Shea and Racine:
Facing the challenging economic time from which Venable is not immune, we write to inform you that this morning the Firm will conduct a layoff of attorneys, staff and paralegals.
We understand that communicating this action by email is not ideal. However, it is important that you know of the Firm's action as soon as possible.
Approximately 3% of our attorneys (16), 8% of our full time staff (43), and 7% of our paralegals (5) will be directly impacted. The individuals who are subject to the layoff are being offered severance packages, as well as professional assistance in locating new employment. As part of the severance package, the Firm is offering health care coverage that will be paid by the Firm through June 30, 2009. We ask that you provide our colleagues who are affected by today's action the respect and compassion that they need in this difficult time.
Recognizing the impact that the Firm's action will have on our colleagues who will continue their employment, Venable will have our Employment Assistance Program (EAP) personnel on site in Baltimore and Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 11 and on Thursday, March 12 for any employee who wishes to meet with EAP's professionals.
Venable will also delay the start of the incoming class of first year associates from September 2009 to January 4, 2010. The Firm will pay for the costs associated with preparation for, and the taking of, the Bar exam. In addition, the Firm will provide our incoming class with a $10,000 stipend in September 2009.
Venable has been and is a law firm that is deeply committed to its clients, the communities in which we work, and the remarkable people who contribute to the enduring culture and family that is Venable. We profoundly regret that the Firm had to take these actions. As we all know, the effects of the current economic challenges have greatly impacted business activity throughout the world. For this reason, the Firm had little choice but to act.
Our actions do not change the fact that the individuals directly impacted by today's layoff are decent and dedicated people. We thank each of them for their contributions to the Firm.
We sincerely believe that the difficult decisions that the Firm has made will enable Venable to continue to provide exceptional advice and service to our clients well into the future. With your determined hard work, the Firm will continue to grow and prosper.
Jim and Karl
Meetings will be held later today and tomorrow to answer any questions that you may have. We will notify you of the time and place that these meetings will be held.