ILNews

Bose lays off lawyers

Elizabeth Brockett
April 1, 2009
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Economic Impact

Bose McKinney & Evans, Indianapolis’ fifth largest law firm, is cutting 25 employees, including 10 attorneys, because of the recession.

This is the first public announcement in Indiana of any lawyer layoffs as a result of the economic downturn.

Ken Crook, Bose managing partner, said the “reduction in force” would affect two paralegals and 13 support staff in addition to the attorney cuts â?? all at the downtown Indianapolis office. He announced the cuts March 26 and told Indiana Lawyer they would be effective within a week. The layoffs affected employees in the litigation, business, real estate, and intellectual property practice groups.

CrookCrook said the recession continues to affect the firm’s clients and therefore certain practices within the firm. He added, “the silver lining, if there is one” is the realign- ment will help position the firm to continue to effectively serve its clients into the future.

Firm management met with employees the day the cuts were announced to discuss how the layoffs will impact the firm. Crook said they provided some more information about the reduction beyond what was formally announced. He declined to talk more about what employees were told.

He also said there was no correlation that the reduction came near the end of the first quarter, and he declined to talk about how the firm decided which positions to cut.
These cuts are on top of the 11 administrative and operational staff positions the firm eliminated in January.

Other Indiana firms have also reduced support staff in recent months but deny those were because of the tumultuous economy.

Many other firms nationally are making similar cuts because of the economy and these measures are painful but necessary, Crook said.

Looking ahead, he anticipates the economy will be soft through 2009. However, the firm will continue its summer associate program.

Bose McKinney & Evans had 137 attorneys as of Jan. 22, 2009, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal’s list of largest Indianapolis-area law firms. The firm has two offices each in Indianapolis and Northwest Indiana and one each in West Lafayette, Washington, D.C., and Raleigh, N.C.

Every law firm

Don’t read too much into the Indianapolis attorney layoffs, said William Henderson, associate professor of law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law â?? Bloomington and director of the Law Firms Working Group, a research network devoted to the study of the law firm.

“Every corporate law firm in the country is experiencing a downturn because their clients are,” Henderson said.

Henderson said that for a mid-size, Midwest market, Indianapolis’ market is stronger than most.

Most law firms are based on a model that requires firm growth, he said, but it’s one that doesn’t work well with today’s economy. As firms build their workforce, they also incur more costs â?? more people, more space, more technology.

“Clients are hurting for cash flow so they’re looking at their legal budgets for the first time,” said Henderson, who rhetorically asked where money is going to come from to support all firm’s attorneys if there’s no increased revenue and the work isn’t there.

There’s no way of counting how many attorneys have been let go in Indiana or nationwide because many firms make cuts with no public announcements and say it’s because of performance, even if it’s really because of the economy, said Henderson. That reasoning makes it harder for those who have lost their jobs, he believes.

“I’d rather be let go because of the economy. The reason is less hurtful and painful than a stealth layoff,” said Henderson, noting that it’s easier to tell a potential employer you were let go because of the economy than for performance.

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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