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Olswang is downsizing its staffing levels through natural wastage to cope with a slowdown in the market for e-commerce and technology work.The news, coming weeks after US firm Brobeck Phleger & Harrison laid off 16 employees in California, has been taken as further evidence of the falling demand for legal services in the technology sector.Olswang chief executive Jonathan Goldstein made the statement after admitting that the firm had lost a number of employees since March, a figure he said was “slightly higher than normal”. He commented: “One way we are dealing with market conditions is by not replacing staff in certain areas.”Legal Week understands that a mixture of both lawyers and support staff have left the firm in a number of departments.Goldstein said: “The number is higher because we have had a low rate over the five years – it is nothing unusual.” He added: “We are still recruiting in several areas including private equity, litigation and IP.” Goldstein conceded that Olswang, which was the fastest-expanding firm in the UK last year with turnover rising 48%, was no longer growing at the same pace.However, despite the slowdown in tech-related work, provisional estimates are that the firm’s fee income for the year 2000/2001 will have grown by 35% to £47m.

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