DLA ‘Working Lawyer’ Explains Why He and 8 Others Moved to Jackson Lewis

Labor and employment partner Richard Hafets worked at DLA Piper for 34 years, but he has some gripes about the firm that is spurring him to jump to Jackson Lewis along with three other partners and four associates.

At DLA, Hafets told the Maryland Daily Record, the firm’s billing rates were so high that the employment lawyers were being priced out of the market.

“It was either stay here and see our practice stagnate at best and wither at worst, or try to find a way to revitalize our practice by reducing our rates,” Hafets told the Daily Record. He said he will be able to drop his billing rates by more than $100 an hour at the new firm.

Billing rates at Jackson Lewis range from $350 to $500 an hour, firmwide managing partner Patrick Vaccaro told the Daily Record. The office is the 45th for the expanding employment firm and the 12th since 2008, according to a press release.

Hafets told the Daily Record that DLA Piper became a “global behemoth,” causing rates to increase. “We have obviously many, many offices around the world, and those offices are of little benefit to our clients,” he told the publication.

He also said DLA invested millions of dollars hiring former politicians who don’t bill time and lawyer managers who spend little time practicing law. “The working lawyers like myself and my group are charged with the task of supporting that structure,” he said.

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