BREAKING: Elite law firm Weil Gotshal to lay off large number of lawyers and staff. About 60 associates, 110 staff.

One of the country’s most prestigious and profitable law firms is laying off a large number of lawyers and support staff, as well as reducing the pay of some of its partners, a surprising move that underscores the financial difficulties facing the legal profession.

The leadership of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, a New York-based firm of 1,200 lawyers that counts General Electric and Sanofi as marquee clients and handled the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, informed its employees Monday morning about the reductions.

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Sixty junior lawyers, known in law firms as associates, will lose their jobs. That amounts to roughly 7 percent of Weil’s associates. Roughly 30 of the firm’s 300 partners are having their annual compensation reduced, in many cases by hundreds of thousands of dollars. And 110 staff employees – roughly half of them legal secretaries – are being let go.

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