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Layoffs

Largest Law Firms Still Shrinking, Shedding 1,400 Lawyers This Year

Posted Nov 8, 2010 8:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The nation’s top 250 law firms shrunk by 1,400 lawyers this year, and associates were hit hardest.

Firms shed close to 1,000 associates, a drop of 1.5 percent, the National Law Journal reports. Partner numbers increased, but only slightly, by 0.6 percent.

The head count at the top 250 law firms has dropped two years in a row. Last year the overall decline was 4 percent, and this year it was 1.1 percent, the story says.

Three law firms lost more than 100 lawyers, including the nation’s largest law firm, Baker & McKenzie. The firm has 3,774 lawyers, 175 fewer than last year, according to the NLJ. Others are White & Case, down by 198 lawyers; and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, down by 109.

Nine firms, on the other hand, got larger. Ropes & Gray had the largest percentage increase, with a 21.6 percent boost in headcount.

Reference to Latham & Watkins removed due to a request by the author of the story, which is being corrected.

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