The legal tabloid sparked a firestorm of rumors when it reported Friday that Sutherland Asbill & Brennan was laying off 30 to 40 associates firmwide.

Sutherland’s managing partner, Mark D. Wasserman, acknowledged that the 480-lawyer firm has cut its associate ranks. But he said the firm has asked fewer than 15 associates to leave, with about eight associates affected in the Atlanta office.

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