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Layoffs Hit Legal Profession Hard

Posted by Frank Steinberg | Feb 27, 2009 | 0 Comments

Layoffs, unfortunately, are no longer news.  And if you follow such things, you know that layoffs in the legal profession are no longer news. This article from caught my eye, however.  Lowenstein Sandler, a prominent NJ firm, is laying off 8% of its workforce and scaling down its incoming freshman class.   That's bad news, but not unusual in this day and age.

What was new to me was the article's link to "The Layoff List."    It's like a rolling mass obituary for employees of  "BigLaw" firms.  And it's amply populated by names familiar to all of us in the profession.

Which got me to wondering whether similar layoff problems are affecting small and mid-size firms in the same way.  Around central NJ it's clear that legal work has slowed appreciably for most firms of all sizes, but  I haven't seen evidence that attorneys are losing their jobs in the smaller shops.  Does anyone see it differently? 

If SmallLaw is weathering the storm better than BigLaw, why is that so?  Do our smaller overhead structures and more flexible management make smaller firms better adapted to brave the stormy seas than our gigantic colleagues?  I'd be interested to know what others think.

About the Author

Frank Steinberg

Frank is the founder and principal of Steinberg Law, LLC. A Jersey boy born and bred, he focuses on employment litigation and counseling, business litigation,  and aviation law. Following law school and a clerkship in the federal district court Frank spent his early career with large litigation ...


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