Credit Market Collapse Claims Victims as Lawyers Exit

November 21, 2007 New York law firms are cutting associates for the first time since 2001 as the collapse of the subprime mortgage and credit markets causes private equity deal volume and structured finance work to slow. Clifford Chance, the world's highest-grossing law firm, dismissed six senior associates who worked on mortgage-backed securities in its structured finance practice on Nov. 5. At least two other firms asked associates, or salaried lawyers, to take sabbaticals or switch departments, a move that often precedes job cuts. Partners, about one-fourth of the attorneys at the biggest firms, may also face some belt tightening.

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