Watts Guerra is a well-known firm among the members of mass torts bar, representing thousands of clients in some of the largest tort cases of our times. Mikal Watts, the firm’s cofounder, is widely regarded as the face of many of these suits. In a surprise move, citing health reasons, Watts recently announced that he’d be departing from the firm to strike out on his own.
Not only will Watts be leaving the firm, but as a result, its Puerto Rico office will be shutting down, resulting in widespread layoffs. Bloomberg Law has the details:
On Jan. 19, employees in the Puerto Rico office received a notice that Watts Guerra would commence “mass layoffs” that will affect at least 50 employees and at least 33% of its workforce. Around 110 employees work in the Puerto Rico office and handle much of the case management for Watts Guerra’s thousands of clients, said the employee who shared the emails. Watts said the other offices also have administrative staff. The employee declined to be named due to fear of retribution.
The firm’s Puerto Rico office will be shuttered by the end of 2024, and the layoffs — which are slated to begin on March 20 — may come in stages. Severance for affected employees “will depend.” Watts claims that he will help current employees find new jobs at other firms in Puerto Rico, and that he will bring some of them aboard in his new practice, but is unsure how many.
Watts plans to keep the majority of the firm’s mass tort cases, pending client approval, while his former partner, Frank Guerra IV, will assume the firm’s personal injury cases.
Best of luck to those who will be let go from Watts Guerra as a result of the firm’s impending office closure.
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Attorney Mikal Watts Resigns, Shuts Down Puerto Rico Office [Bloomberg Law]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter and Threads or connect with her on LinkedIn.
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