Edwards & Angell Lays off 9

Times are tough all around, including area law firms.  The Providence Journal reports that the renowned Providence firm of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP has laid off nine people from its Providence office — the firm’s second set of layoffs in 4 months in its Providence office.

The layoffs, announced to staff March 26, were part of a nationwide cutback at the firm in which 60 people were fired.

In Providence, two lawyers and seven support staff members were dismissed. Nationwide, 25 lawyers and 35 other staff were laid off.

The law firm is dealing with the same economic pressures felt by others in its sector, the firm’s managers said in a letter to employees.

The memo, from managing partner Walter G.D. Reed and chief operating officer Jeffrey P. Hunter stated that the layoffs are due to “lower business levels and fewer transactions.”

“In the face of these difficulties, we have a responsibility to the partners and employees to maintain our firm’s strength and prosperity for the long-term,” they said. “With expectations of a continued weak economy and slow recovery, that responsibility must include aligning our resources with the anticipated demand for our services.”

Edwards Angell said the layoffs were spread across the firm’s offices in Providence, Boston, New York, Madison, N.J., Stamford, Conn., and West Palm Beach. In Boston, 17 lawyers and 18 staffers were cut.

The affected workers will receive severance packages, the firm said.

Along with the layoff notice, Edwards Angell said it has canceled its 2009 summer associate program and postponed to March 2010 the hiring of first-year associates who were to start work in September.

The firm also laid off 50 staff in November, including 16 people from its Providence office.

At the time, Edwards Angell employed 246 people, including 79 lawyers, in Providence, and about 1,200 people in all.

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