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TEXAS PLAINTIFF FIRM LAYS OFF 24 LAWYERS DALLAS � Plaintiff firm Baron & Budd has laid off 19 lawyers in Dallas, including six shareholders, and laid off five attorneys from its affiliate LeBlanc & Waddell, a Louisiana-based firm. Baron & Budd also laid off 100 staffers in its Dallas office and 37 staffers at LeBlanc, which is 95 percent owned by Baron & Budd. After the Monday layoffs, Dallas-based Baron & Budd will have 49 attorneys and LeBlanc will have six. Russell Budd, managing shareholder, says the downsizing is due to a “changed business model,” not a downturn in business. He says within the past two to three years the firm had a docket of about 15,000 suits, but now has about 1,000 suits, partly because of recent asbestos-related tort reforms in Texas and elsewhere. He notes the asbestos legislation passed during the 2005 session of the Texas Legislature “closed the courthouse door to a significant number of injured Texans.” With the layoffs, Budd says, the firm has positioned itself for the future to handle more serious, complex suits. Budd says the restructuring has been in the works for the past year or so. The firm’s leaders hoped to slim the firm down through attrition, but that strategy did not work. He declined to discuss the firm’s profitability, but says the firm is “financially strong.” Budd says the layoffs are not related to the firm’s ongoing litigation with firm founder and former shareholder Fred Baron and former shareholder Lisa Blue, Baron’s wife.

— Texas Lawyer

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