Robinson & Cole Law Firm In Hartford Trims 30 Positions Companywide
KENNETH R. GOSSELIN
April 01, 2009
Robinson & Cole, the venerable Hartford-based law firm, said Tuesday that it will trim staff by 30 positions, including 11 lawyers, across the firm's seven offices in the Northeast.
The firm's Hartford office is taking the brunt of the cuts , losing five lawyers and nine administrative support jobs. A total of 19 support positions are being eliminated companywide.
John B. Lynch Jr., who was named managing partner last week, said the cuts were made with "deep regret" but "we, like every other business, are experiencing the effects of the economic downturn."
Robinson & Cole, founded in 1845, had 250 lawyers, about 150 in Hartford, before the cutbacks. The layoffs at the firm, which employs about 500, are relatively modest at about 6 percent of the workforce. So far, Connecticut law firms have generally been spared the deep cuts seen elsewhere in the country.
In February, Day Pitney eliminated 66 jobs, including 31 in Connecticut, the Connecticut Law Tribune reported. Day Pitney did not return a phone call from the Courant Tuesday.
Law firms such as Robinson & Cole that cater to corporations are feeling the pinch of the recession. Executives of client companies are under pressure to trim expenses for outside legal services.
"Everyone's tightening up," said James Kaiser, owner of Kaiser Whitney Staffing in New Haven, which hires for the legal industry.
At the same time, law firms are limiting expenses so they can be competitive in their fees to clients.
"It is crucial that we align our resources so that we can continue to provide our clients with cost-effective services," Lynch said.
The legal industry has been consolidating in recent years as firms broaden their areas of practice because clients are seeking to deal with a single firm for all their needs. That has claimed smaller firms, such as the Hartford firm Tyler Cooper, which couldn't compete with larger firms in attracting lawyers with specialized areas of expertise.
Robinson & Cole added 30 lawyers last November, including nine partners, from San Francisco-based Thelen, which disbanded. Thelen tried to keep pace with expansion but found revenue growth didn't offset the cost of adding lawyers.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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