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Dechert’s Philadelphia office will not be affected by the layoffs of 10 associates in its Washington, D.C., and Newport Beach, Calif., offices, firm Chairman Barton Winokur said. Dechert laid off nine associates in its D.C. office earlier this month; all were part of the financial services group. The remaining associate, also a financial services group member, was from Newport Beach, which has a small office the firm just opened two years ago. “Our financial services practice is still growing, but not like it once was,” Winokur said. “The financial services practice was growing at about 25 percent, and now it’s in single digits. But you have to commit to kids from your summer program almost 2 1/2 years before they actually begin working for you as first-years. “We committed to more people, more offers were accepted and less people are leaving. That left us with more people than we had work for. We had the same situation last year, and we offered people externships, but we didn’t want to do that again.” Winokur said the financial services practice is spread out between Washington, Newport Beach, Boston, New York and London, with support staff based in Philadelphia. “There are no implications beyond what we’ve done already,” Winokur said. If Dechert had the work, it would have kept all of the departing lawyers, said Jeffrey Puretz, deputy chairman of the practice. Dechert’s financial services practice grew “explosively” from 1998 to 2000 but has leveled off, Puretz said, leaving the 85-lawyer D.C. office with “large incoming classes [of associates], larger than we really needed.” Puretz said the firm gave the associates, most of them at the junior level, severance packages that “we hope will see them through their next positions.” After the layoffs, Dechert’s D.C. financial services group stands at 65 lawyers. Jenna Greene of Legal Times contributed to this story.

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