Redundancies hit City firms
04 May 2012
City law firms have been announcing major redundancy rounds: Shoosmiths has confirmed that 93 of its staff are at risk of redundancy, just a couple of days after Herbert Smith
announced that it was looking at making 51 staff redundant.
Insiders at Herbies say that problems have been building up as lawyers hung on to their jobs, despite receiving poor appraisals (as is often the case when tough market conditions mean there are few jobs to move to). The resulting low rates of attrition mean that while there's a reasonable amount of work around, there are just too many senior associates to service it. So on Monday Herbies announced that 23 corporate lawyers, 5 real estate
lawyers and 19 secretaries were for the chop.
At least the firm acknowledged
that "it has been a difficult decision which we have taken reluctantly and after much deliberation
". However there was no such contrition at Shoosmiths, where 93 staff in the firm's consumer legal services arm (largely its volume motor personal injury team in Basingstoke) are at risk.
Shoosmiths issued a statement
after being contacted by RollOnFriday yesterday, which expressed no regret at all at doing over nearly 100 employees. But, on the plus side, there was plenty of
management speak about what a great move the redundancies are, and how the firm is now doing jolly well: "The desired re-balancing has now been
achieved. We have well established relationships with referrers who
value exceptional service quality, and we have an innovative
". Presumably its trainees are delighted as well
||Some shoesmiths being made redundant yesterday |
Apparently the decision was taken to allow the firm to focus on "legal disciplines that align more closely with its business brand
". In other words, to hang the staff out to dry, and try to make more money out of higher end work. Nice.
Big law firms are not exactly class-leading when it comes to planning their staff numbers, and managing partners throughout the City have been telling RollOnFriday that they are all in much the same boat. Now that large firms are starting to break ranks, expect others to follow.
BREAKING NEWS: Mayer Brown has just confirmed
that up to 20 jobs are at risk of redundancy in its London office.