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Thursday, July 17, 2003

Legal Notebook
'Staffing needs' change cited for Goodwin Procter layoffs
Sheri Qualters
Journal Staff

Joining the ranks of law firms laying off staff, Goodwin Procter LLP trimmed staff support late last month.

The firm eliminated 11 full-time administrative positions at its Boston headquarters, including nine secretaries and two staff positions in the word-processing area, confirmed public relations manager Melissa Benson in a statement. The firm also cut several part-time secretarial positions, according to Benson.

Partner payouts

Because law firms have varying partnership structures with a range of what constitutes equity, or voting, partners and nonequity partners, there's a broad spectrum of remuneration among top dogs at top-ranked firms. Often, the discrepancy between profits-per-equity-partner and payouts-to-partners can be equally vast, due to the diluting effects of nonequity partners. According to data from the Am Law 100 annual survey in the American Lawyer trade magazine published earlier this month, the top-paying firms in 2002 weren't necessarily the most profitable. Here are the numbers, according to what the magazine defines as equity and nonequity partners:

At Ropes & Gray, which has a single-tier structure of 151 equity partners, the partners each took home an average of $835,000 -- the same as profits per partner.

Hale and Dorr LLP's 143 equity and 10 nonequity partners each made an average of $785,000, compared with profits per partner of $810,000.

Goodwin Procter's 100 equity and 55 nonequity partners were paid an average of $745,000 each, compared with profits per partner of $960,000.

McDermott Will's profits per partner were $1.07 million, and its 280 equity and 252 nonequity partners took home about $300,000 less, or an average of $725,000.

Bingham McCutchen LLP averaged $920,000 in profits per equity partner, and its 93 equity and 147 nonequity partners saw average pay of $600,000 each.

At Greenberg Traurig LLP, the 197 equity and 179 nonequity partners earned an average of $550,000 each, compared with profits per partner of $780,000.

Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC's 57 equity and 108 nonequity partners each took in an average of $440,000 in compensation, from its profits per partner of $660,000.

With profits per partner of $470,000, Seyfarth Shaw's 197 equity and 25 nonequity partners made an average of $435,000 per person.

Nixon Peabody LLP reaped $465,000 in profits per partner, and its 227 equity and 69 nonequity partners each earned an average of about $405,000.

Duane Morris LLP's 141 equity and 91 nonequity partners and Holland & Knight LLP's 430 equity and 234 nonequity partners took home about $360,000 each, but Duane reaped $445,000 in profits per partner, while Seyfarth's partners each made $470,000 in profits.

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