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Two Alabama Law Firms to Downsize
Two law firms in the state of Alabama are downsizing, according to al.com. Both of the firms are two of the oldest in the city of Birmingham and they have cited the economy, the banking industry in the city, and outside competition as reasons why they have seen a decrease in legal work.

The two firms are Johnston Barton Proctor & Rose LLP and Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker LLC. Haskell will move out of its office by the end of February and Johnston has seen its group of lawyers decrease.

The managing partner at Johnston, David W. Proctor, said in an email that the firm, which is 88 years old, is changing dramatically.  

"We had 40 lawyers 18 months ago; we have 25 now, and we expect others to leave in the next 30 days, either to join other firms, go in-house corporate or into solo practice."

"For our support staff we have held resume and interview skill workshops and are continuing to help them," Proctor stated. "Currently we occupy some of the best office space in Alabama, and we appreciate that our landlord has been generously working with us as we face changes this spring."

In response to questions asked about the firm completely shutting down, Proctor said, "We have lost some lawyers over the last couple of months and expect several more to leave in the next few weeks; in the meantime our lawyers and staff are continuing to take care of and provide superior service to our clients."
At Haskell, Bob Garner is the managing member. He said that the 40-year-old firm employed 75 lawyers just two years ago. Now, the firm employs just 25 attorneys after 10 left the firm in December. As of last week, the firm's office in Birmingham had roughly 15 attorneys remaining.

"We are in the process of winding down," Garner said.
Wyatt R. Haskell, one of the firm's founding members, recently retired. Michael Rediker, whose name is on the firm's nameplate, also left to join the firm of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell in Florida.

Garner told al.com that the firm is working to find lawyers and staff members positions at other firms. Garner also said that the firm is not going to dissolve. He said that some of the lawyers left could reform the firm somewhere else in the city. The office in Montgomery will remain open and so will the firm's office in New York.

Garner was not sure if the Haskell Slaughter name will remain part of the firm.

"These situations are very difficult for those who are involved," Garner said.

Proctor and Garner named changes in the legal community and the economy as reasons why the firms are changing.

"Birmingham's economy has been challenging over recent years. More and more legal work is being consolidated with out-of-state firms," Proctor stated. "No doubt this has changed the business model for some mid-sized to large Alabama law firms, including us. For us, the forces of change are external, and we all understand that."


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