On Thursday, Fish & Richardson said that it was laying off 14 staff members. In a publicly issued statement, the law firm said, “While our caseload continues to grow, client demands for more cost efficiency meant that we needed fewer support personnel for cases than we did in the past.” The 14 staff being laid off includes paralegals and litigation support staff positions.
The announcement by Fish & Richardson is the latest in a string of layoffs occurring at national law firms, which are trying desperately to survive the Great Recovery, restructure, and align business methods to more realistic models. Recently, such job cuts have also been announced by Minneapolis-based Dorsey & Whitney, as well as by Houston-based Fulbright & Jaworski.
While Fish & Richardson, whose job cuts came into effect from Tuesday, opined that the cuts were necessitated by clients having “smaller budgets for outside legal services,” Kent Zimmerman, a Chicago-based consultant told Reuters, “Nationally there is a trend towards thinning out underperformance.”
When Dorsey made its announcement of job cuts last week, it however, did not attribute the job cuts to clients having “smaller budgets” but to improvements of technology leading to the elimination of 20 support staff positions. In their official statement, Dorsey had said, “We can deliver the same high level of client service and responsiveness with fewer staff than was the case just a few years ago.”
Last month, Above the Law posted an email memo on Fulbright & Jaworski’s voluntary severance plan sent by the firm’s executive director James Dixon that stated the firm was seeking to “lower our overhead-cost profile.” The voluntary severance program targeted staff members like secretaries and receptionists. Dixon asserted in the email, “These steps will help to strengthen our firm and enhance our competitive position.”