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Dorsey & Whitney Announces 20 Layoffs

Dorsey & Whitney announced on Wednesday that it has laid off 20 members of its support staff, including 12 people in its headquarters in downtown Minneapolis. Bryn Vaaler, a partner and spokesman for the firm, said that the reduction in the staff comes as part of a review conducted periodically of needs of the firm. The layoffs occurred because of enhancements to technology at the firm and services provided to the firm’s clients.

“Like any other business we have to make sure we’re operating as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Vaaler said. “As technology changes, some positions don’t make economic sense anymore.”

In the firm’s review, no attorneys were cut from the payroll. In 2011, the firm posted revenue of $323.5 million in the review. The firm employs 557 lawyers and a support staff of 637, which includes the recent layoffs. Vaaler said that the layoffs represent just 1.6 percent of the workforce at the firm.

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“You hate to see your friends go, but it’s part of doing business,” Vaaler said. “You need to be as lean and mean as you can be.”

Earlier this year, managing partner Marianne Short said that the firm is looking for a smaller office to operate in because of attorney defections, declining revenue and a tough economy. aside from the 12 cuts in Minneapolis, the firm also laid off employees in Hong Kong, Salt Lake City, California, Seattle and New York.

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