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TheStreet Open House

Recession Causing Lawyer Layoffs At Big Firms

Karla Cortes, 33, lost her job as a Nature Conservancy attorney in November, only two years after graduating from American University's law school.

Money is now getting tight, said Cortes, who attended a George Washington University workshop on getting a legal job in the tough economy. "I hope to find a job soon," she said. "Otherwise, I will have to return to Puerto Rico because my savings will be depleted."

Tommy Wells, president of the American Bar Association, said the increase in lawyer layoffs is partly the legal industry's fault.

In the past, large law firms diversified by having lawyers work in areas such as bankruptcy and litigation that could support the corporate and mergers-and-acquisition work when the economy soured and vice versa, he noted.

"Firms probably got a bit out of balance in terms of their practice areas and put a lot of resources into areas that unfortunately are not nearly as active as they were a few years ago," he said.

The economy is being blamed for entire law firms going under.

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