Holland & Knight, Layoffs, Midsize Firms / Regional Firms, Paralegals, Real Estate, Secretaries / Administrative Assistants

Nationwide Layoff Watch: More South Florida Suffering

Holland Knight staff layoffs secretary secretarial firings.jpgThe bad news continues to roll in. Becker & Poliakoff, which just announced across-the-board pay cuts for its lawyers, isn’t the only Florida firm that’s hurting.
From a report by Julie Kay, for the upcoming issue of the National Law Journal:

In another sign of the hard times facing the legal industry, particularly in real-estate heavy South Florida, two local law firms — Holland & Knight and Shutts & Bowen — have laid off non-lawyer staffers.

On a day that could be dubbed Black Friday in South Florida legal circles, Tampa-based Holland & Knight, one of Florida’s largest and most venerable firms with 1,150 lawyers, laid off 70 staffers Friday, including legal secretaries, IT and accounting staff. No lawyers were laid off.

The layoffs of about four employees in each of Holland’s 17 offices represented 5% of Holland’s non-lawyer workforce.

Shutts & Bowen, a 200-lawyer, Miami-based firm, Friday laid off nine people, all entry level file clerks or paralegal clerks. No lawyers or legal secretaries were affected.

Holland & Knight spokeswoman Susan Bass told the Daily Business Review that the firm “had some redundancies and inefficiencies.” Seventy staffers is a whole lot of redundancies.
Read more — about prior layoffs at H&K, and the situation over at Greenberg Traurig — below the fold.

This isn’t the first time for Holland & Knight:

In 2002, the firm laid off 60 lawyers and more than 100 staff members, or 5% of its attorneys and 10% of its staff. The layoffs came in the wake of publication of an internal memo sent from a partner to the firm’s then-managing partner criticizing the rapid expansion, saying it was done at the expense of profitability. There was no sign of a financial downturn brewing at a lavish cocktail party held by Holland & Knight for its clients and reporters two weeks ago at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s Palm Beach manse.

And what about Greenberg Traurig, which has been the subject of some layoff rumors?

Matt Gorson, hiring partner at Greenberg Traurig, Florida’s largest firm, said recently that he moved some Miami associates out of real estate and into litigation as real estate has slowed. It is unclear if the firm has done layoffs. Calls to Gorson and a firm spokeswoman were not returned by deadline.

As always, if you have layoff news that hasn’t been previously reported here, please email us. Although we’ve been reporting on lots of layoffs, we feel that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Thanks.
South Florida law firms hit by real estate slump, shed workers [National Law Journal]
Holland & Knight Cuts Staff Jobs [Daily Business Review]

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