Another AmLaw 100 firm, this time #6 White & Case, has announced layoffs. 70 associates and 100 staff. An internal memo was posted by our friends at Above the Law:

As part of its planning for 2009, White & Case LLP is reviewing its global operations against current and anticipated market conditions and expected client needs. While the Firm anticipates a strong 2008, with significant revenue growth across our globally diverse network, we are exercising prudent business judgment and taking several steps in advance of what is likely to be a significantly weakened global economy in 2009.

Among these actions, the Firm is reducing its global legal and nonlegal headcount by about 3% from current levels, or notifying employees that they are at risk of redundancy. These reductions are being driven in large part by a decline in attrition rates. Those who have been asked to leave will receive a competitive severance package.

“We are living in a time of unique economic challenges, and well-managed, successful businesses, including White & Case, must assess their operations in light of current market realities,” said White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier. “We believe this is a necessary step to adjust to the global economic downturn and to ensure a strong, long-term future for the Firm.”

While layoffs are never pleasant, they are part of our economic reality today. Indicators point to the fact that we are just at the beginning, and other firms will use the cover of White & Case to similarly right-size their business operations.

When it comes to law firm layoffs, I believe that there are three classes of employees:

  • Those who are redundant and will quickly make the short list during a lay off.
  • Those who are valuable and will quickly be categorized as “safe.”
  • And then there are all the rest.

It’s your job. If you are lumped in the “rest” category, what are you doing to become valuable? What are you going to do today to ensure that you and your career are not redundant?