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Baker & Daniels cuts operational staff

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Tough economic times are causing law firms across the country to consider staff cuts as a way to trim costs, and the Indiana legal market isn't an exception.

Indianapolis-based firm Baker & Daniels on Wednesday eliminated 6 percent of its operational staff, meaning 22 employees have lost their jobs - 12 in Indianapolis and 10 in Fort Wayne. That includes floater positions, switchboard operators, and other operational staff.

None of the firm's attorneys or legal staff are being affected this operational review downsizing, according to the firm's chief executive partner Tom Froehle.

A recent review of internal operations uncovered technological improvements, allowing the firm to run more efficiently with fewer employees, Froehle said.

"We found we were a little out of line, and it was appropriate for us to realign ourselves," he said.

These types of cuts are signs of the times, other Indiana law firm leaders say. Firms nationally are reporting cuts in paralegals, secretaries, and other support staff, as well as slashing other areas such as marketing or training and letting go underperforming associates.

This story will be updated in the Dec. 24, 2008-Jan. 6, 2009 print edition of Indiana Lawyer.

IBJ reporter Scott Olson contributed to this story.

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