ORLANDO -- An Orlando law firm has dismissed more than 50 of its employees after lawsuits had been filed against its partners, coupled with a decline in the number of cases the firm been handling.
KEL, which changed its name to LawyerASAP, began laying off employees at the end of 2015.
“The financial cases have dropped considerably," Matt Englett, the managing partner of the law firm, told the Orlando Sentinel. "I also stopped doing other types of cases that I had done in the past. I want to focus more on contingency fee cases. They are less headaches."
The employees were gradually let go over the course of 2016 in an effort to execute a smooth transition. Prior to rebranding as LawyerASAP, Englett had been working as a partner with Jerry Kaufman and Craig Lynd in managing KEL.
“It has been a progression which started at the end of last year. Our case count is a fraction of what it was," Englett told the Orlando Sentinel.
Englett stated that the law firm initially had 10 offices across the state of Florida. Currently, only the offices in Tampa, West Palm Beach and Orlando are still in operation. The rebranded law firm LawyerASAP shifted its focus to handle mostly debt harassment cases. Englett told the Orlando Sentinel that he now only employs seven lawyers and 53 employees. This shows a marked decrease from the 160 employees he worked with in April.
Aside from the downsizing and rebranding of his law firm, Englett also faces an open bar investigation. The Florida Bar also named his former colleagues, Kaufman and Lynd, as defendants in the complaints.
Prior to this investigation, the three founders of the KEL law firm had already faced disciplinary sanction from the Florida Bar twice. Their violations included failure to comply with the regulations for state attorneys on regular communication with clients and for sharing legal fees with non-attorney members of their staff.
Despite the cases they face, Englett insisted that the breakup of KEL and eventual rebranding were not done with bad blood among the founders of the law firm, he told the Orlando Sentinel. Citing their expertise in varying legal issues, the LawyerASAP founder shared that the decision to part ways was the most logical move for all three of them.
“We had a breakup in mind when we rebranded, but that was done mostly because we had expanded into new markets. We are still on good terms. There’s no drama,” said Englett of their decision to dissolve KEL, according to a separate Orlando Sentinel report.
Englett’s former KEL co-founders and partners have since formed their own law firm called Kaufman and Lynd, which focuses on special injury cases.