“The role of the traditional ‘legal secretary’ is rapidly changing,” one secretary recently told us. “Major law firms are full of career secretaries with 20 to 25 years of service, but younger attorneys don’t need the same assistance. You will see that many firms are adopting a secretarial team/services center model which increases the secretary/attorney ratio from 1:3 to 1:5, 1:6, 1:7 or more. At my former firm, it was 1:10. Honest.”
“Paralegals are in trouble too,” this source added. “First-year associates need something to do. I am ranting now.”
This tipster (and several others) told us about yet another law firm conducting layoffs, which we confirmed with the firm….
The missing apostrophe in the headline is not a typo. As some of you may have guessed, the firm in question is Arent Fox. Here is the statement from the firm:
Effective this week, the firm reduced the number of support staff by approximately 20 people in various offices and departments. Like many firms across the country, we are making hard choices to ensure that our resources are aligned with demand. This was a difficult decision that was made even harder because we are losing good people who have helped make Arent Fox an excellent law firm. Those affected are being provided with severance pay and health benefits. We wish them the best.
A classy comment, with minimal spin, that could serve as a model for future such statements. And Arent Fox is an excellent firm, at least according to those of you who responded to our ATL Insider Survey. Among D.C.-based firms, Arent ranked #1 in firm culture and #2 overall.
But that isn’t much comfort to the affected individuals at Arent. Good luck to them as they seek new opportunities, whether in the legal field or beyond.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of layoffs