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US firm Brobeck Phleger & Harrison has laid off 16 employees from its US technology centre in Concord, California in a further sign of the pressure on US firms.Although the staff were not lawyers the move highlights a problem facing many of the US firm’s which are having to cut back in order to weather the economic slowdown.The announcement came just two weeks after Brobeck chairman Tower Snow Jr told the firm in a video conference that no one would be laid off at the firm even though the economic downturn in the US had begun to result in a loss of work.Brobecks has publicly put the move down to the conclusion of a large piece of litigation the team was working on but the size of the lay-offs has caused surprise.At the beginning of the year, however, Brobeck’s decided to up the basic salary of its first year lawyers to $135,000 (£92,465).In February New York firm Dewey Ballantine laid off 12 of its associates because the projected staff turnover had been lower than expected. Deweys also refused to match the pay hikes awarded by Brobecks and other West Coast firms keeping the figure static at $125,000 (£85,600).

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