The Sacramento law firm of Downey Brand LLP laid off 17 staff members this week, a downsizing move that corresponds with the departure of more than 20 of its lawyers this year.
The layoffs of paralegals, secretaries and other workers represent about 20 percent of Downey Brand’s legal staffers. No attorneys were included in the layoffs, which were made only in the firm’s downtown Sacramento office. The firm also has offices in Stockton, Reno and San Francisco.
“The reality is that our business remains strong, but we didn’t need as much staff with the departure of 23 attorneys this year,” said Scott Shapiro, the firm’s managing partner. “It’s very difficult...It’s always hard to make these decisions. But the reality is that had to do what we could to continue to operate profitably and keep everybody else employed.”
Shapiro said Downey Brand now has about 80 attorneys.
Following a series of recent departures by attorneys leaving to start up their own, smaller law firms, Downey Brand’s managing partners went on retreat in early March, electing Shapiro as managing partner and Stan Van Vleck as chair.
At the time, Shapiro said he expected a “handful” of departures as a result of the firm’s internal changes, as well as the legal industry trend of attorneys with specific experience and skill sets leaving large firms to strike out on their own.
Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.