BCLP cuts 47 global business services roles

Move sees transatlantic firm join the likes of Cooley, Goodwin Procter and Dechert in laying off staff
A photo of a map of the USA with a pin in it

Most affected staff are based in the US Shutterstock

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has announced it is cutting 47 global business services roles, with most of those affected based in the US. 

The transatlantic firm said the move was part of an initiative to “align its business services population to industry trends, technology improvements and the evolving needs of the firm.” 

BCLP will cut 34 roles across 17 US offices and 13 roles across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including two in the UK. Most of the cuts will be within the ranks of secretarial and administrative staff in the US, which BCLP said were “identified as having excess capacity following a comprehensive review of support ratios.”

The firm said in a statement: “Our focus remains on achieving scalable and sustainable growth. This means investing in our people, technology and brand, and doing this in a targeted way to ensure we have the right levels of support across our platform, prioritising the areas that require greatest investment. 

“After careful consideration and a comprehensive analysis of our global business services population, we have made the decision to implement changes that will result in a small reduction in our workforce. These decisions were not made lightly and we are saddened to say goodbye to valued team members. All affected employees have been notified and will be provided comprehensive support packages, including competitive severance benefits, outplacement assistance and resources to facilitate their career transition.”  

The move sees BCLP become the latest in a number of law firms to axe staff, including in some cases associates. Last December Cooley announced it was laying off 150 employees in the US including 78 attorneys, blaming the move on a market downturn.

In the months since, Goodwin Procter and Shearman & Sterling have cut associates and staff in the US and Dechert announced it was cutting 5% of its global workforce, including 55 lawyers. Meantime Davis Wright Tremaine goodbyed 21 staff and Kirkland & Ellis cut associates in the US following a mid-year performance review. 

In many cases the cuts followed firms hiring heavily amid a record deals market that finally ran out of steam last year, with global M&A falling 33% in the second half according to research by Refinitiv – the sharpest fall since records began in 1980. 

BCLP, which was formed in 2018 through the merger of US firm Bryan Cave and the UK’s Berwin Leighton Paisner, pointed out that it had its second most profitable year to date in 2022. In April the firm also announced it was opening an office in Seattle with a pair of litigation partners hired from Portland-based Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt. 

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