More Bad News for In House Counsel at Banks

By Kevin Fayle on April 20, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

After Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch, the markets responded with a resounding rejection of the deal.

It's a sentiment that the financial institution's own legal department might soon share.

A post at the JD Journal states that lawyers in the combined legal department of the two companies - about 700 attorneys in all - are being asked to reapply for their own jobs.  As the post points out, this almost always leads to layoffs.
If the layoffs do indeed go down, it will only be the latest example of a company paring down its legal department in response to the economy's woes.  This earlier post discusses previous corporate trimmings, and discusses what the trend means for in house counsel generally.

Any BoA layoffs would also be the second legal department firings by a major financial institution in less than a week.  As discussed in the post mentioned above, Wells Fargo recently confirmed its plans to cut the ranks of its corporate counsel.

What's bound to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of anyone laid off from the Wells or BoA legal departments is the companies' recent quarterly earnings reports.  Wells Fargo stated that it earned $3 billion in profit in the first quarter, and BoA reported today that it cleared $4.25 billion in profit during the same period - largely as a result of the Merrill Lynch merger.
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