Venable to cut 64 workers

Law firm's reductions are companywide

March 11, 2009|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,

Venable LLP, one of the area's largest law firms, is laying off attorneys, staff and paralegals as it loses business because of the downturn in the economy, according to a company memo.

The firm, which has offices throughout the country, including in Baltimore and Towson, is laying off 16 attorneys, 43 full-time staff members and five paralegals companywide. Venable employs 1,240 people, including 467 in the Baltimore area.

"We profoundly regret that the firm had to take these actions," Chairman Jim Shea and managing partner Karl Racine told employees in a memo yesterday. "As we all know, the effects of the current economic challenges have greatly impacted business activity throughout the world. For this reason, the firm had little choice but to act."

The layoffs are the latest at law firms, which are seeing business disappear with the tight economy. DLA Piper laid off 80 lawyers and 100 staff people throughout the country last month. Piper didn't say how many jobs were lost in Baltimore.

Laid-off Venable employees are being offered severance packages that include health care coverage paid through the end of June and assistance in finding new jobs. No other details about severance were provided.

The firm also said it will delay the start date for incoming first-year associates from September to January. However, the firm said it will give these associates a $10,000 stipend in September and pay for their costs of preparing for the bar exam.

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