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D.C. law firm Patton Boggs lays off lawyers, sources say

By Casey Sullivan

(Reuters) - The Washington, D.C., law firm Patton Boggs has laid off an unknown number of lawyers and administrative staff, according to two sources inside the firm with direct knowledge of the matter and two sources outside the firm.

The firm, which has more than 550 attorneys in nine offices worldwide, is known best for its lobbying and public policy work in Washington and is expected to have a firm-wide meeting early on Friday to discuss its current situation, according to a Patton Boggs partner.

At the meeting, in which partners will be able to call in via telephone, the leaders of the firm are expected to announce details about the layoffs and other changes, the partner said.

"I think the firm is just right-sizing," said one partner, who noted he wasn't worried about the firm's financial health.

The partner said the firm's management had briefed him about layoffs in the litigation department, but added that they could affect other areas of the business as well. They involved the New Jersey, New York and Washington offices and were based on the productivity of the lawyers, he said.

A Patton Boggs spokesman contacted on Thursday said: "We have nothing formal to announce at this time. We'd be glad to share any information when we do."

Thomas Boggs, the firm's chairman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It could not be determined how many lawyers, or which ones, are affected by the layoffs, but one source with knowledge of the matter said that the layoffs affect lawyers in both partner and associate ranks.

The furloughs come as many law firms throughout the United States have sought to lay off partners and junior associates as the legal industry faces low demand and significant pricing pressure from clients following the recession.

Other law firms have made similar downsizing moves recently. The legal blog, "Above the Law", reported earlier on Thursday that Stroock & Stroock & Lavan had planned to lay off an unspecified number of legal secretaries.

A spokeswoman for Stroock & Stroock was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

(Reporting by Casey Sullivan; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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