The continuing mortgage crisis and tightening credit markets are claiming a new batch of victims: Lawyers. Layoffs at Clifford Chance, the world's highest-grossing law firm, have started, Bloomberg reports, and up to 5% of salaried associated at New York law firms may get the ax as work on mergers, acquisitions and private equity deals slows down. Experts say they’re the first major cuts since the technology bubble burst in 2001.
“Law firms who rely on those major Wall Street banks are being hit the hardest,'' said one attorney. Associates, who start at $160,000, may find solace in average bonuses of $115,000 from a record first two quarters this year in which $492.8 billion in deals were made; 2006 bonuses ranged from $30,000 to $65,000.