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Holland & Knight eliminates 243 jobs

TAMPA — One of Florida's major law firms and a large local employer, Holland & Knight, announced layoffs Thursday for attorneys and support staffers companywide.

The firm, with 21 offices in 11 states and six countries, confirmed that 70 of approximately 1,150 lawyers and 173 support staffers had their positions eliminated.

The cuts were announced to the firm's employees Thursday in an e-mail.

It was unclear how many of those lawyers and employees were in the Tampa office.

In a prepared statement, the firm called the measure a restructuring that included reassigning lawyers to places with increasing demand, terminating 243 employees and streamlining operations.

"At the end of the day, 2008 was a good year for us," said Karen McBride, a spokeswoman for the firm.

"But as we looked at the uncertainties with the economic downturn, our measures were prudent and called for, and respond to client demand over the long term."

The Internet site AM Law 100, in an annual roundup of financial statistics on large law practices, said of Holland & Knight, "revenue dropped 1 percent to $606 million last year on top of a dip of 0.2 of a percent in 2007.

Profit per equity partner dropped 3 percent to $678,337. The revenue decline was the worst among Florida's five largest law firms last year."

McBride said the firm's competitors nationally have taken similar measures recently as everyone prepares for more economic challenges in 2009.

According to the firm's statement, Holland & Knight made this decision because of a shift in business, with some areas shrinking and others increasing.

Laid off employees are being offered separation packages, including severance pay, health care continuation and outplacement and counseling services during their transition period, according to McBride.

Times researchers Caryn Baird and John Martin and staff writer Colleen Jenkins contributed to this report.

Holland & Knight eliminates 243 jobs 02/12/09 [Last modified: Monday, February 16, 2009 11:03am]
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