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Law Firms Weigh Fundamental Changes

Law firms around the U.S. continue to lay off attorneys and staff in efforts to cope with the economic downturn. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the legal sector lost more than 5,000 jobs in the first two months of the year.

Citi Private Bank Law Watch reports its quarterly survey of law firm managing partners shows a pessimistic outlook continuing as expenses grow and client demand weakens. Sixty-four percent of about 120 managing partners of some of the country's largest firms expect the legal business to decline further through the summer.

Some observers say that circumstances will lead to permanent changes in the way legal services are provided. Recent articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post show how some lawyers are rethinking their jobs.