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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
‘RIGHTSIZING’ THE WRONG WAY - Post-pandemic law firm staff “rightsizing” is accelerating. As Law.com’s Patrick Smith and Justin Henry report, many firms are cutting experienced support staff and leaning heavily on a combination of technology and younger, cheaper labor to fill the resulting gaps. Exploring ways to make your firm more efficient and productive is a sound business strategy, but there are still plenty of pitfalls for firms that approach staff cuts the wrong way. “First, I think firms should focus on revenue growth instead of cutting overhead,” Deborah Farone, legal consultant and founder of legal marketing firm Farone Advisors, told Smith and Henry. “That is a better long-term strategy. But if they are going to lay people off, cutting staff while at the same time raising salaries for associates certainly sends a message.” And that message can easily make its way to sites like Glassdoor, which prospective hires (including recent law grads) are taking into account when they make career decisions, Farone noted. In addition, as legal industry mental health consultant Patrick Krill recently told me on Law.com’s Legal Speak podcast, firms too often overlook the fact that staff cuts further limit human interaction and relationships in a profession that is often already isolating, which can exacerbate mental health issues for the lawyers left behind.