Excerpt from ABA Journal: (click for entire article)
A cut in average billable hours may sound like a good thing for overworked lawyers, but it portends more staff layoffs, according to banking experts.
Average hours per lawyer so far this year are in the low 1,600s, compared to averages of 1,700 to 1,800 hours from 2000 to 2007, according to reports by Citi Private Bank and Wells Fargo Wealth Management. Unless law firms see substantial increases in revenue or productivity, they will likely cut more support staffers, experts from both organizations told the New York Law Journal.
The cuts have already begun. Howrey laid off 32 staffers this month, followed by DLA Piper, which didn’t disclose how many were cut. Stay tuned, says Jeffrey Grossman, national managing director in Wells Fargo's legal specialty group. "You're going to see more cuts in terms of staff,” he told the New York Law Journal.