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There's a new law firm vacancy in San Francisco. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, a top New York City-based law firm, is closing its San Francisco office and moving its attorneys and staff to Silicon Valley. Skadden will concentrate its attorneys in its Palo Alto office. All four partners from the SF office have confirmed the move but of the seventeen associates, some are still undecided as to whether they will relocate, Above the Law reports.
Why leave the city by the bay? The move, which is scheduled to be completed by the middle of 2011, is a matter of finances and priorities. It is expensive to run multiple office and Skadden seems to place the emphasis on their much larger Silicon Valley office.
Although the San Francisco office closure does not appear to be layoffs in disguise for attorneys, Above the Law reports that there likely will be staff layoffs.
Last year, Skadden reported earnings of $2.1 billion. Although the figure was lower than previous years, consolidating offices may be an attempt to recoup finances in the wake of a slow legal market. Skadden did not release a statement regarding the reason behind the closure. The move may also be indicative of a larger law firm trend: Dewey & LeBoeuf and White & Case both have closed their San Francisco offices and bulked up their Silicon Valley presence.