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Holland & Knight slips again in ranking

Holland & Knight has slipped another notch in an annual survey of the country's largest law firms.

Holland ranked as the eighth-largest firm, with 1,273 lawyers as of Sept. 30, according to the National Law Journal. That's down 56 lawyers, or about 4 percent, from last year, when the firm ranked seventh. Two years ago, it was No. 5.

"We don't really consider it to be a very significant change,"' said Robert Feagin III, the firm's managing partner, by e-mail.

But the survey documents the rough patch the law firm has been experiencing. Its job cutbacks were publicized in Republican campaign commercials when Holland's former managing partner, Democrat Bill McBride, was waging his unsuccessful campaign for governor.

Of firms in the law magazine's top 10, Holland was one of only three that had fewer lawyers than last year.

According to the Journal, the total number of lawyers in its list of the top 250 firms grew by 3.7 percent, down from last year's 8.2 percent growth rate and the lowest level since 1995.

In May, Holland, an international firm founded in the Tampa Bay area, fired 60 lawyers and 170 other employees after a period of rapid growth fueled by acquisitions. Ten years ago, the firm had only 284 lawyers.

Baker & McKenzie of Chicago remained the top firm for the 25th consecutive year, with 3,246 lawyers.

Here are some other firms with Florida ties: Greenberg Traurig of Miami moved up to 19th from last year's 21st; Carlton Fields of Tampa ranked 186th, up from 196th; Steel Hector & Davis of Miami remained at No. 203; Tampa's Fowler White Boggs Banker moved up to 218 from 240; and Ruden McClosky Smith Schuster & Russell of Fort Lauderdale rose to 220, up from 229.

_ Times news researcher Kitty Bennett contributed to this report, which contains information from Times files.