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Associates Have to Make Do With Fewer Staffers
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Secretary.Layoffs of legal support staffers have pushed the staffing ratios at some law firms to one support staffer for every four lawyers.

The layoffs are forcing associates to take on more legal research and other tasks once handled by paralegals and law librarians.

David Sturgess, managing partner of Updike, Kelly & Spellacy in Hartford, said his firm has a ratio of one support staffer for every three lawyers after layoffs, but he knows of some firms with 1-4 ratios.

  
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Law firm consultant Peter Giuliani said many of the staff cuts are being made in departments handling information technology, billing or other areas that can be outsourced. In New York, he said, many law firms made significant layoffs in their law libraries.

For the most part though, firms aren’t cutting secretaries. “In my experience, secretaries are usually a protected class,” Giuliani said.

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