Dechert has confirmed that it laid off 19 attorneys Thursday across its U.S. offices.
The group included associates and of counsel and several practice areas were affected, though the firm would not specify which ones.
In a statement issued by the firm, it said the layoffs were "primarily due to a reduction in demand that has affected most, if not all of the legal industry."
"We are in a rapidly changing economic environment and it is impossible to predict the future. We will deal with the world as it changes," the statement continued. "The lawyers who are being terminated will receive a severance package consistent with what we have done in the past."
When the firm laid off 13 attorneys in March 2008, though they were later given the opportunity for temporary reassignment, a source said the severance packages included three months' severance, six months of paid medical benefits and transition placement support.
The majority of Dechert's layoffs in 2008 were focused on staff, with 72 U.S. positions cut and 15 in the United Kingdom.
The 13 associates who received layoff notices last March were in the finance and real estate practice and were given temporary assignments in other practices. Some took that opportunity and others didn't. Dechert had also moved other associates into busier practices throughout the year and had adamantly denied that any other attorney cuts, other than for performance issues, had occurred since March. In mid-December, the firm announced it laid off 72 administrative staff in its U.S. offices, which accounted for about 12.6 percent of the firm's 570 U.S. support staff members.
With staff cuts already making their appearance at many large Pennsylvania firms and attorney cuts adding more to the bottom line, several firms have begun to focus on reducing lawyer headcount in 2009.