Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Ruden McClosky has carried out another round of attorney and staff layoffs.
Firm president and managing director Carl Schuster said Thursday that the firm let go of more than 20 employees. Two attorneys, including one part-time lawyer, secretaries and paralegals were affected.
This is the second round of cuts since fall when Ruden fired 15 secretaries and a real estate associate. The firm lost 3 percent of its attorneys and five of its 69 equity partners last year, leaving Ruden with 172 lawyers in 11 offices throughout Florida at year end.
Executive director David Lane said after the previous round that the cutback was part of an effort to realign the firm's attorney-staff ratio. The industry standard is three attorneys to one secretary. The firm still has not reached a ratio of two attorneys to one secretary, Schuster said. Whether there are additional cuts toward the three-to-one ratio depends on how well the economy fares.
The firm, which is dominated by a litigation practice, reported a 9 percent drop in revenue to $85.3 million, the worst showing of major Florida firms in the last fiscal year. Revenue per lawyer dropped 6 percent to $495,930.
The notion that the firm isn't performing well financially should be based on comparisons to other firms in the recession, Schuster said. Some firms are on a third round of layoffs, and many have lowered pay for incoming associates and asked law school graduates to delay their start dates.
Compared with the rest of the industry, he said, the firm is faring well but not when compared to its record 2007 performance.
"Are we doing well compared to 2007?" Schuster asked. "The answer is no. These are the only two cuts we've made. Are we doing well against other firms who have cut a couple hundred people? Maybe we're doing better."
Schuster said the firm has brought in four new lateral partners in recent months.