Last year, layoffs at firms like Cooley and Goodwin Procter put roughly equal numbers of attorneys and business professionals out of work as the firms blamed the cutbacks on excess capacity amid falling demand in transactional practices.

But in February, layoffs hit law firm business professionals harder than they hit attorneys in the Am Law 100, and the reasons firms gave for the cuts indicate that more people in administrative roles may be at risk of layoffs due to firms’ long-term push for efficiency.