Layoffs in the law departments of staff and cases after the Nextel-Sprint merger

In the midst of a profile of Leonard Kennedy, the General Counsel of Sprint Nextel, Corp. Bd. Mbr., Vol. 11, July/Aug. 2008 at 79, the author refers to the 2005 merger of the two companies. Kennedy, who had been the GC of Nextel was put in charge of both legal departments. “In blending the legal groups, Kennedy trimmed a combined total of 300 people to 209.”

Those layoffs amounted to 30 percent of the combined law departments, a cut in line with those of other mergers (See my posts of May 10, 2007: Clayton Holdings; Sept.13, 2005: Honeywell and Oracle; Feb. 19, 2007: BellSouth/AT&T; and May 5, 2008: turnover after mergers.). Post-merger law departments inevitably shrink from the total of the pre-merger departments

Kennedy also had his staff look hard at the 2,000 lawsuits pending at the time of the merger. In the next couple of years, the law department shrank that caseload to less than 750 by winning cases, getting some dismissed, and settling a lot of class-action suits. It is an excellent practice for a law department to review its portfolio of litigation and prune it.

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