The intrepid Julie Kay, working her beat:
In another sign of the hard times facing the legal industry, particularly in real-estate heavy South Florida, two local law firms — Holland & Knight and Shutts & Bowen — have laid off non-lawyer staffers.Hmm. Harbinger of things to come?
On a day that could be dubbed Black Friday in South Florida legal circles, Tampa-based Holland & Knight, one of Florida's largest and most venerable firms with 1,150 lawyers, laid off 70 staffers Friday, including legal secretaries, IT and accounting staff. No lawyers were laid off.
The layoffs of about four employees in each of Holland's 17 offices represented 5% of Holland's non-lawyer workforce.
Shutts & Bowen, a 200-lawyer, Miami-based firm, Friday laid off nine people, all entry level file clerks or paralegal clerks. No lawyers or legal secretaries were affected.
The news comes on the heels of a decision announced internally Friday by Fort Lauderdale-based Becker & Poliakoff to temporarily and immediately chop all lawyer salaries by 12%. The firm, which is heavy in condo and real estate representation, said it was forced to take the action since clients are delaying payment in this lean economic environment.