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May 14, 2009 9:31 AM

Hunton & Williams Cuts 23 Attorneys, 64 Staff Members

Posted by Francesca Heintz

Hunton & Williams has announced that 23 associates and counsel and 64 staff members have been laid off. The cuts, announced in a firmwide e-mail distributed Thursday morning, are spread across practice areas and offices. They affect two percent of the Richmond-based firm's 1000 lawyers and six percent of its staff. Today's cuts are Hunton's first round of layoffs since the start of the downturn.

Managing partner Wally Martinez says the decision did not come lightly and, while the firm remains financially strong, the layoffs were necessary in order to align the firm with client needs. (In 2008 Hunton reported a 2.2 percent increase in revenue, while its profits per partner dropped 3 percent.)

"We conducted our own internal stress test," says Martinez, adding that the lack of associate attrition was also a catalyst. "We're quite late getting to the layoff table, but the economic situation is a lot more prolonged and deeper than we had expected."

Martinez says the firm is meeting with all affected staff members and associates individually today. He says the severance package is competitive, though he declined to provide details.

In recent years Hunton & Williams has undergone an aggressive growth strategy, which Martinez says still is part of the firm's strategy. "We're still actively engaged in a couple of very important lateral discussions right now," he says. "In a downturn, the margin for error is less but you still bank on growth."

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this organization is having issues with account service and troublesome billing practices to clients. usually this is one of the first signes of opperational issues and as we all know desperate people do desperate things.

After years of working with the banking professionals formerly with Jenkins & Gilchrist now H&W this firm has terribly changed the rule of clients come first. There billing practices are off the chart as it relates to fair and reasonable. They are lossing clients.

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