As lateral hiring continues to slow, law firms are reassigning corporate associates into litigation and bankruptcy practices, while other firms have begun trimming their lawyer ranks at the edges, cutting associates they feel aren’t up to par, or at least prepping to do so by identifying offices, practices and people who are underperforming, according to industry observers.

Law firms are using the softer demand environment to address weak spots that were difficult to cut during a stronger economy, recruiters and legal industry analysts said.

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