High-Profile Attorney Mikal Watts Resigns, Triggering Office Closure and Mass Layoffs

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Watts Guerra, a prominent law firm known for representing clients in major tort cases, is facing significant changes after co-founder Mikal Watts announced his departure due to health reasons. As a result, the firm’s Puerto Rico office will be shutting down, leading to widespread layoffs.

According to internal emails shared by an employee, at least 50 employees, or approximately 33% of the workforce, will be affected by the mass layoffs. The Puerto Rico office, which employs around 110 people responsible for managing many of the firm’s cases, is expected to close by the end of 2024. The layoffs are scheduled to begin on March 20 and may happen in stages, with the severance packages for affected employees yet to be determined.

Watts has expressed his intention to assist current employees in finding new jobs at other firms in Puerto Rico and has also mentioned the possibility of bringing some of them on board for his new practice. However, the exact number of employees he will be able to accommodate is uncertain.

While Watts plans to retain the majority of the firm’s mass tort cases, pending client approval, his former partner, Frank Guerra IV, will assume responsibility for the firm’s personal injury cases.

The closure of Watts Guerra’s Puerto Rico office is expected to have significant ramifications for both the firm and the affected employees. The departure of Mikal Watts, who is often recognized as the face of the firm, marks a significant shift for the legal powerhouse. The firm’s reputation, built on its representation of thousands of clients in high-profile tort cases, may be impacted by this sudden change.

The news of the office closure and mass layoffs has raised concerns among employees, many of whom have dedicated their careers to the firm. Given the uncertainty surrounding future job prospects and the challenges of finding new employment amid layoffs, affected employees are facing a difficult and uncertain transition.

The closure of the Puerto Rico office also highlights the broader impact of the firm’s reorganization. As one of the firm’s largest offices, the shutdown will undoubtedly impact the day-to-day operations and case management for Watts Guerra’s extensive client base.

As the firm adjusts to these changes and employees face an uncertain future, the aftermath of Mikal Watts’ departure and the office closure will have a lasting impact on the legal community in Puerto Rico and raise questions about the future direction of Watts Guerra.

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