WHAT CAN I SAY? – Law firm layoffs and attorney cuts in recent weeks have brought renewed attention to the restrictive severance agreements that lawyers often sign when they’re let go, Law.com’s Justin Henry reports. Severance money in exchange for signing a non-disparagement or confidentiality agreement is a requirement of many law firms in the Am Law 100 to avoid the negative optics that attend downsizing employee ranks, according to sources in contact with recently let-go associates.at various firms. But in an environment in which performance reviews are used as a pretext to right-size associate ranks, many associates have been caught between their former firm’s demand for staying quiet about being let go and their prospective future firm’s demand for transparency.
CAP CONTROVERSY – Bipartisan efforts in both the House and Senate aim to add a cap to attorneys fees on lawsuits linked to exposure to toxic chemicals at a North Carolina marine base. But attorneys who are already working with clients to get some of the $6.1 billion made available via legislation passed last summer told Law.com’s Brad Kutner that the suggested caps are unreasonably low and the market will better police the process. “These are individual cases; every one is unique,” said Baird Mandalas Brockstedt Federico & Cardea partner Philip Federico in a phone interview, about the effort his firm has already put in for the clients he’s representing in Camp Lejeune claims. But, as Federico and other attorneys pointed out, the individual nature of every claimant and the law’s language precluding class action claims will require a lot of work.