Is No One Is Safe?

Didn’t I see somewhere recently where those “in the know” were saying that the current recession is coming to an end? Maybe it was wishful thinking. Regardless, how much longer are things going to be so dreary…probably until everyone stops acting like everything’s so dreary.

The Career Services office at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law released a warning email to rising 3Ls that campus interviews are down 45% from last year. And it’s no suprise. Just today, one of the largest and most prominent law firms in the world announced the closing of a major-metropolitan area satellite office. Weil Gotshal, which represents General Motors in its ongoing bankruptcy filing and is headquartered in New York with approximately 1,300 lawyers and 21 offices worldwide, has until recently had a pretty effective business model. But now the firm is closing its Austin, Texas office effective at the end of this year. Earlier this year, the firm laid off 79 staff members, and now it looks as though staff numbers are not the only ones dwindling.
Bankruptcy work, at least consumer filings that is, has seemingly been the one area of legal practice that hasn’t been affected, or at least not negatively, by the current economic climate. Go figure. Apparently, though, it’s not enough for Weil Gotshal, which with its representation of GM has now served as lead debtor’s council in the 5 largest bankruptcy filings in the country (Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, WorldCom and Enron are the other 4). Check out this poignant graphic from GOOD/Magazine (click the graphic for larger image):

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