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Barrister Information Systems Corp. reported Thursday that it lost $1.86 million during the latest fiscal quarter, as the Buffalo-based manufacturer of computer systems for law firms continued to struggle.

In addition, Barrister said it has continued to restructure its operations, including the elimination of 76 jobs during the last year. As a result, the company slashed its work force to 340 employees as of June 1, which is down from 416 at the beginning of June last year and well below the 591 workers the company had in April 1988.

Richard P. Beyer, Barrister's vice president of finance, said the job cuts were spread fairly evenly throughout the company's management and staff.

Barrister's fourth-quarter loss equaled 61 cents a share, which was an improvement compared with the company's loss of $2.78 million, or 91 cents a share, during the same period last year.

At the same time, Barrister's revenues fell 19.7 percent to $7.45 million during the quarter ended March 31, down from $9.28 million a year earlier.

Barrister President Henry P. Semmelhack blamed the loss on lower microcomputer sales, which, in turn, cut into the firm's sales of software support services.

Barrister's revenues from product sales fell 14.8 percent to $6.9 million from $8.1 million a year earlier. Its revenues from services fell 2 percent to $16.3 million from $16.7 million.

Semmelhack said the lower sales of Barrister's minicomputer products were due to the current market trend toward microcomputers, as well as a delay in the completion of the company's Advanced Law Firm Financial Management System.

Adding to the problem is a slowdown in capital investment by law firms, which have been delaying spending decisions because of the shake-up in the financial services industry, the reduced number of mergers and acquisitions, and the slowdown in the overall economy.

Still, Semmelhack said he is optimistic that the company's financial performance will improve. "While we are disappointed with these results, the company has taken a number of important steps to enable it to return to profitability in fiscal 1991," he said.

"This process of 'right-sizing' the company began last year and should enable us to achieve profitability on lower sales volumes."

In addition, Semmelhack said the company expects its minicomputer sales to improve now that the company is marketing the first version of its law firm mangement system software, along with other enhancements to its minicomputer product line.

For the entire year, Barrister had a net loss of $6.49 million, or $2.13 per share, compared with a net loss of $6.6 million, or $2.16 per share, during the previous year. Revenues fell 8.6 percent to $29.1 million from $31.9 million.

Barrister also announced that it has restated its results for the second quarter ended Sept. 30 to include a $318,000 loss from a sublease on part of one of its regional offices. That extra loss increased the company's net loss during the quarter by 10 cents a share to $1.5 million, or 49 cents a share.

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