NEW YORK, May 25 (Reuters) – International law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner said Thursday it has laid off 47 business services professionals globally, becoming the latest firm to trim its employee ranks in recent months.
The firm, which has about 1,275 lawyers in 31 offices, said it will eliminate 34 positions in the United States and 13 roles across its Europe, Middle East and Asia offices.
The firm said the cuts will mainly affect secretarial and administrative positions in the United States, “which were identified as having excess capacity following a comprehensive review of support ratios.”
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner said the move is meant to “align its business services population to industry trends, technology improvements, and the evolving needs of the firm.”
A firm spokesperson said no lawyers were let go.
Large firms have laid off lawyers and professional staff members since late last year as they adjust to declining demand for legal services. Many big firms expanded their ranks to keep up with soaring corporate deal work in 2021 and early 2022 and are now facing cooling demand as global M&A activity has slowed.
Earlier this month, Dechert let go of 55 lawyers and 43 business professionals, representing 5% of its global workforce. Dechert leaders said in a memo at the time that the layoffs stemmed from an assessment of “existing and projected demand” for its services.
Other firms including Cooley, Goodwin Procter, Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, Lowenstein Sandler, Davis Wright Tremaine, Perkins Coie, Shearman & Sterling and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan have also laid off lawyers, staff or both since the fall.
Firms may be reaching a new equilibrium as demand has fallen. A recent report from the Thomson Reuters Institute found slower expense growth among large and midsize firms in the first quarter of 2023 and an uptick in demand for countercyclical practices such as litigation and labor and employment.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner generated about $845.2 million gross revenue in 2022, marking about a 3.8% decline compared with 2021, according to The American Lawyer.
The 100 largest U.S. law firms grew gross revenue by 2.7% on average last year, but profits per equity partner dipped by 3.7%, The American Lawyer reported.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner said in the Thursday statement it has made other “strategic decisions” as the firm evolves, including hiring 10 partners since January and opening a new Seattle office in April.
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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at [email protected]