Legal Ethics

Patton Boggs axes 30 attorneys and 35 staff, no partners get pink slips


Unlike a number of other major law firms, Patton Boggs didn’t lay off workers during the recession. But it axed 65 attorneys and other employees Thursday, after 2012 revenue and profits slipped, the firm’s managing partner said Friday.

Let go were 30 lawyers and 35 staff members, managing partner Edward Newberry told the Blog of Legal Times. The lawyers included associates and contract attorneys; no partners at the 485-attorney Washington, D.C.-based law firm got pink slips.

“We took the action we felt we needed to protect the profitability of the firm and the financial strength of the firm in light of what we anticipate revenue will be this year,” said Newberry, adding that he expects no further layoffs this year.

Patton Boggs saw revenue dip by 6.3 percent in 2012 to $318 million, and average profit per partner sank 14.9 percent to $736,000, according to the annual American Lawyer 100 survey.

Newberry told the BLT the slump is due to a decline in work from bigger clients and slow payment. Although he declined to pinpoint any specific matters, the legal publication notes that a the firm’s representation of a group of Ecuadorians in a massive environmental case against Chevron Corp. is winding down.

Newberry says he expects the firm’s financial performance to improve in 2013, as Patton Boggs focuses on opening offices in Dubai and Houston and relocates its back office to Northern Virginia, among other anticipated enhancements.

“We’re making smart, strategic investments, and we’ll continue to focus on business development, we’ll continue to focus on disciplined expense management, making sure revenue is aligned with expenses and head count, we’ll continue to focus on strategic growth of the firm,” Newberry said.

The firm is particularly known for its lobbying and public policy work.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com (July 2008): “‘Soft Economy’ Is Backdrop for Departures of 8 to 9 Patton Boggs Associates”

ABAJournal.com: “Patton Boggs is reportedly laying off lawyers and staffers”

Above the Law: “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Patton Boggs Blows Folks Out the Door “

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