HWL Ebsworth Lawyers have confirmed that 17 staff members have been made redundant since December, but the firm has hired 55 new staff members nationally in the same period.
The 17 staff members included six lawyers, two graduates, three paralegals and six personal assistants (PAs).
The six lawyers were made redundant from a number of different areas, while the three paralegals were let go from a specific property sub-division where work had softened, Juan Martinez, managing partner at HWL Ebsworth, told Lawyers Weekly.
The firm had recently completed a national rollout of technology providing digital dictation capabilities, which had delivered significant efficiencies and enabled the PA ratios to be reduced, Martinez also said.
"The above is in the context of hiring 55 new staff and lawyers in the same period - a net increase in the period 1 Dec 2008 to now - of 38 people. This result is obviously national and in particular practice areas, in particular geographical areas, as things are not uniform. But [it] shows a continuing strength and growth, particularly given Christmas in between," he told Lawyers Weekly.
The firm announced last Friday that seven new partners had been appointed in their banking and finance, commercial, property, workplace relations and health practices.
Martinez said the growth and lateral recruitment were made possible by HWL Ebsworth's business model which focused on keeping costs down, while building a high-quality full-service, national practice.
"We expect this careful and responsible management of resources for growth to continue in what is obviously a very challenging market that does present good opportunities for a firm of our type and a business model where all our stakeholders are well looked after as well as our clients getting great value," he said.
"We are very proud of the fact that we are a net employer in these difficult times."
- Sarah Sharples