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Winston & Strawn has quietly cut some administrative staff and some of its 900 lawyers over the past two months, sources familiar with the cost-paring moves said. The Chicago-based firm dismissed a handful of administrative staff in the business development unit of its Chicago office last week following reductions in staff positions in other departments in prior weeks, said sources familiar with the cuts. The firm also dismissed some nonpartner lawyers during the summer, asking them to leave by the end of this month, the sources said. The firm declined to comment on any reductions. “It’s the firm’s policy not to talk about personnel matters out of respect to the privacy of our people,” said spokesman Darryl Van Duch. Winston’s employee reductions are similar to those happening at other law firms in the latest series of cutbacks necessitated by the ongoing business slowdown, recruiters and consultants said. Because the hoped-for resurrection in demand for legal services hasn’t materialized yet, firms are taking another look at where they can trim workers. If the cuts aren’t happening yet, they’re likely to happen this fall, especially in corporate and real estate practices, said those recruiters and consultants. Associates and income partners who don’t have enough work right now should know that the writing is on the wall, especially with new first-year associates arriving soon at some firms, said Mark Jungers, a recruiter with Major, Lindsey & Africa in Milwaukee and Chicago. The idle workers “are in serious danger of losing their jobs,” he said. Amy McCormack, who leads the Chicago recruiting firm McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc., doesn’t expect large-scale reductions, but said firms aren’t as hesitant as they were a year ago to let employees go. “If practice areas are suffering for a period of time, I don’t think firms are going to hesitate to reduce the headcount,” she said.

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