"Going forward, why does a first-year associate ... why do they need a secretary that's directly outside their office?" Hoffman asked.
As law firms re-examine their real estate options, secretaries will most likely be located in one area so they are serving a group of lawyers, Hoffman said. The new secretarial structure is the first step in moving in that direction, he said.
"We recognize and truly value the contributions that all of our secretaries have made to the firm, and are committed to working closely with each and every one of them to evaluate their options and help them make a smooth transition, whether it be an internal or external move," Friend said in a statement.
This isn't the first time Blank Rome has trimmed its secretarial pool. In 2009, when many large firms were cutting associate and secretary ranks, Blank Rome made two separate rounds of layoffs that affected both staff and attorneys.
In January 2009, Blank Rome let go of 20 associates and 40 staff across its offices. Then in March 2009, the firm let go 27 associates and 52 staff members in response to a continuing downward trend in the economy.