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LEANING AND BULKING  – Some firms are looking to cut personnel on the staff side, while others are looking to add talent on the attorney (and C-suite) side. As Patrick Smith reports, data collected by consulting firm Decipher, covering Jan. 1 through Aug. 31, shows a number of firms have been active in the lateral market during that period. Alisa Levin, veteran legal recruiter and principal at recruiting firm Green-Levin-Snyder, said the pandemic has created an opportunity for firms that want it. “There are winners and losers, and the disparity between the winners and losers is getting broader,” Levin said. “There are a number of firms that see this as an opportunity to get people or practice areas they have been trying to bolster for a long time.” Meanwhile, Dan Packel reports that, since the start of the spring, at least 20 Am Law 200 firms have acknowledged cutting staff positions. While those moves don’t necessarily signal financial distress at every firm, there are certainly those who are in danger of becoming one of the lateral market “losers” Levin described if they fail to get a handle on their expenses. “If they don’t sustain profits per partner, they’ll see an exodus of rainmaking partners to firms who do sustain PPP. They’re constrained to look for ways to cut costs. Unfortunately for staff, that’s an easy place to look,” said Legal Mosaic founder Mark Cohen, who managed his own litigation boutique and was a partner at long-defunct Finley Kumble. “The result speaks for itself. It’s a very sad situation.”

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