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‘Soft Economy’ Is Backdrop for Departures of 8 to 9 Patton Boggs Associates

Posted Jul 2, 2008 10:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Updated: A spokeswoman for Patton Boggs says eight to nine associates left the law firm this year after it took a harder look at their performance.

Rebecca Carr, director of communications and public relations for the law firm, told ABAJournal.com that the firm was tougher this year during midyear associate evaluations.

In an interview this morning, Carr said the soft economy “has forced us to take a harder look when conducting our evaluations.” In the past the firm “might have kept someone on and waited for them to generate new business or waited for new business to come in,” but the firm decided against that tack this year.

“It’s no secret it’s a soft economy,” Carr told ABAJournal.com. “We decided to let associates go when we didn’t feel we had enough work to keep them employed in the practice area.”

“It’s not a reflection on their work at all or on them as individuals,” she added. “It’s just that we had to take a harder look this year at our business needs.” She added that overall the firm is having a very good year.

In a second interview this afternoon, Carr told ABAJournal.com the associates should not be characterized as leaving solely because of a lack of work. "I’m not aware of any associates that we, quote-unquote, dismissed due solely to a lack of work. It’s not true," she said. "We have plenty of work to go around."

"The departures are due either to a harder look at the associates’ performance in the context of a soft economy or through voluntary resignations and not in general to a lack of work," she said in the new interview. She had not mentioned that any of the associates left of their own accord in the earlier interview.

Carr did not specify where or in what practice areas the associates were employed. Patton Boggs has offices in Washington, D.C., and eight other locations.

Above the Law was the first to report the news.

Story updated at 2:10 p.m. to include additional comments from Rebecca Carr.

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