It seems that there are announcements of law firm staffing cuts every day.
According to an article circulated today by law.com, in December alone, major law firms laid off at least 300 staffers — spanning from secretaries and paralegals to marketing and technology support. Those announced cuts included 115 at Reed Smith, 90 at White & Case, 35 at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and 40 at Goulston & Storrs. Firms have quietly cut even more positions, and the layoffs show no sign of slowing down.
The argument is made that perhaps it would be make more sense economically to keep paralegals and, instead, cut associates. The argument for this is that as paralegal staff is cut, associates may be picking up the paralegal work. In the end, associates may earn higher salaries and bill at higher hourly rates than paralegals. Therefore, firms expend more dollars for associate salaries than paralegal salaries. More importantly, clients are charged at the associate’s rate, rather than the lower paralegal hourly rate.
Be sure to follow this link to read this important article.