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September 1, 2009 12:15 PM

Fish & Richardson Plans to Shutter Austin Office, Trim Corporate Practice

Posted by Ross Todd

Our colleagues at the National Law Journal report that intellectual property heavy-weight Fish & Richardson expects to close its Austin, Texas office by the end of the year. The firm lists 26 lawyers in the Austin office on its Web site. Fish also said in a statement that it plans to shed most of its 14 corporate attorneys, except for a "small number" of lawyers in the Northeast whose practices mesh with the firm's IP focus.

The moves are the latest in a string of cutbacks at Fish. In January, the firm disclosed that 49 lawyers and technology specialists were either laid off or departed in late 2008 and early 2009. In May, the firm cut 35 lawyers and 85 support staff, slashing head count by more than 7 percent.

Kent Zimmermann, a Chicago-based consultant with the Zeughauser Group, told the NLJ that Fish's latest moves do not come as a surprise. "When I see a firm like Fish & Richardson, which is known as [an] IP firm, cutting their corporate department in a market where corporate departments are faltering badly, it's not completely shocking," Zimmerman said. "Now is the time to be decisive in making tough decisions and to get lean."

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