Fish & Richardson cuts litigation secretary positions; consultant warns of 'dying profession'
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Fish & Richardson is eliminating the position of legal secretary across its 14 offices.
The law firm told Law.com that it eliminated the traditional litigation secretary role and “transitioned those roles to other litigation practice support roles.” The intent was to “evolve our litigation practice support” to “better align with the advanced skill sets of our talent and the way we practice law today.”
After Law.com broke the news, Above the Law and Law360 followed with stories.
An unnamed source told Law.com that the change left at least nine people out of a job. Some of—but not all—the litigation secretaries were reportedly offered other positions at the law firm, the article reports. Law.com was unable to get confirmation on the number of people laid off.
Many law firms are seeking to downsize litigation support teams, according to Mark Santiago, a New York-based law firm consultant with SB2 Consultants who spoke with Law.com. Many firms want to transition from a 1-to-1 ratio of lawyers to secretaries to a 4-to-1 ratio, he said.
“I think that every secretary should be conscious they are members of a dying profession,” Santiago told Law.com. “I don’t think you’re going to have these long secretarial relationships where they go on for 20 years.”
Support professionals are now expected to help devise case strategies and to possess technology capability, he said.
Law.com noted that Fox Rothschild and Reed Smith have reduced secretarial employees through buyouts.