Goodwin Procter to Close San Diego Office, Fire Staff

Goodwin Procter LLP is closing its San Diego office at the end of the law firm’s fiscal year, leaving about two-thirds of the 34 lawyers and staff without a job on Sept. 30.

Four partners, six other lawyers and 12 staff members will be let go, Lee Feldman, a firm spokesman, said today in an e-mail. The remainder will be offered opportunities to relocate or pursue other work arrangements. The office has six partners, 12 associates and 16 staff members, according to a memo by Chairman Regina M. Pisa and managing partner Robert S. Insolia.

“When we opened the office in March 2007, we envisioned that the San Diego office would be a significant source of corporate transactional work, particularly in the life sciences and biotech areas,” Pisa and Insolia said in the memo. “While this was the case initially, and while these practices have continued to grow nationally at the firm, we haven’t been able to realize our initial vision.”

Some law firms are trimming payrolls because of a slowdown in business since the 2008 financial meltdown and competition from lower-cost legal-service providers. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, based in New York, said this week that it will fire 60 salaried lawyers and 110 staff and cut some partners’ pay. Patton Boggs LLP, based in Washington, fired 65 employees in March, including 22 associates.

California Sites

Goodwin Procter said in the memo that it plans to build the firm’s life sciences and biotechnology practice in California through its three other offices in the state -- in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

The Boston-based firm was ranked 39th on the American Lawyer magazine’s list of wealthiest U.S. law firms with $715.5 million in gross revenue last year, a 2.9 percent increase from the previous year.

The San Diego closing will leave Goodwin Procter with about 800 lawyers at eight offices in the U.S., London and Hong Kong.

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