Cooley Sees A Double-Digit Income Drop Amid Layoffs Due To ‘Overcapacity’


Job Losses layoffsEd. note: Welcome to our daily feature, Quote of the Day.

It was a year of precipitous change. It wasn’t just that it was a markedly different market, it was the speed with which it happened.

As a cultural matter, we decided we’d be aggressive about hiring. And in the most competitive war for talent I’ve ever seen, we were winners in that. But viewed through a historical lens, that happened at the wrong time, and we ended up with an overcapacity problem.

It was important in making that very difficult decision to do [layoffs] in a way that moved the needle to rationalize the expense base against the given level of revenue, and meaningfully get associates engaged, bonus-eligible and developed.

Joe Conroy, Cooley’s chairman and chief executive officer, in comments given to the American Laywer on the firm’s roller coaster of a year. In 2022, Cooley’s net income fell 16.8% to $806 million, with its profit margin dropped 9 percentage points as a result, while its revenue increased 1%, putting the firm past the $2 billion mark. In November, the firm laid off 150 attorneys and staff members, and Conroy said that severance costs were a “significant” expense item. “We would’ve liked to have done better,” he said. “But we are stronger than ever. We have the most talent we’ve ever had, better brand positioning, better penetration into our client base, and a stronger culture for what we’ve lived through.”

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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