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Layoffs

Some Law Firms Begin Firing Equity Partners, Despite a Better Third Quarter

Posted Dec 10, 2009 9:08 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Law firm layoffs are beginning to hit partners—including equity partners, according to a legal consultant.

Dan DiPietro, head of client relations for the law firm group at Citi Private Bank, tells Bloomberg that law firms laid off more lawyers in the third quarter than the second. Some are eliminating partner jobs, he said, including equity partners.

“Some of the tough-love conversations are happening already,” DiPietro told Bloomberg, “and there’s every reason to believe they will continue.”

Citi Private Bank projects that law firm revenues will fall 5 percent to 10 percent this year, despite increased demand for legal services in the third quarter. Its projections are based on data from 131 law firms.

“The worst could be over,” DiPietro told Bloomberg, “but we’re not expecting anything like the profit margins that law firms experienced from 2000 to 2007.”

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