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Chadbourne & Parke has instituted a firm-wide hiring freeze for both legal and non-legal staff in an attempt to combat the economic downturn.
In a memo titled "How are we doing?" that was leaked to US legal market blog Above The Law, Chadbourne managing partner Charlie O'Neil confirmed the freeze on hiring.
He said those practice areas that had needs for additional legal personnel would now be met by temporarily shifting lawyers from less-busy areas, rather than hiring laterally.
O’Neil admitted Chadbourne faced "a challenging time” and said it was necessary for the firm to live within its means and watch expenses.
"We have taken a number of steps to better position us for the remainder of this year and next," O’Neil said. "We will be issuing new guidelines pertaining to controls over firm business expenses, including travel. We will also more closely monitor and limit certain other expenses which in a more robust economy might otherwise be acceptable.”
Other significant cost-saving measures include a decision to delay much of Chadbourne’s planned technology upgrade.
"We recognise the need to improve technology and certain of the more important upgrades will continue," said O’Neil. "Others, including the upgrade to new desktop computers and software, will be postponed. We will review this decision in 2009 as the economic picture becomes clearer. Should conditions improve we will begin the upgrade sometime in 2009; otherwise it will be delayed until 2010."