Legal Business Blogs

‘A difficult time’: Ashurst axes 54 City secretaries following redundancy review

Ashurst has culled more than half of its secretarial staff in London as its redundancy review draws to a ‘difficult’ conclusion.

The firm confirmed on Wednesday (19 July) that 54 of its 100-strong secretarial team had been made redundant following a consultation which put 80 jobs at risk. Two secretarial roles in the Middle East have also been axed.

Ashurst launched the process in May, with women making up the vast majority of those in the firing line. Ashurst stated in its March 2018 gender pay gap report that 122 of its 125 secretarial staff – or 98% – are female.

When the redundancy drive launched, chief financial and operations officer Jan Gooze Zijl commented: ‘Responding to changing client needs, evolving technology, market efficiency drives and embracing new ways of working are strategic priorities for Ashurst. The way legal work is undertaken has changed considerably and we need an approach to service delivery that most effectively supports the practices and our business.’

At the time, the firm said its scaled back support function would be divided into three different types of role across the London and Glasgow offices.

This will include four team leaders and 37 practice executives responsible for practice management and business development, two more practice executive roles than originally stated.

The firm said 25 of its London executive assistants have accepted jobs as practice executives, with recruitment of the remaining 12 roles set to be concluded by the end of this month.

London and Glasgow will also be staffed by team executives and team assistants to undertake the more traditional administrative work. Of the 44 available roles, 14 have been filled internally, with recruitment nearly finished for the other remaining jobs.

Claire Townshend, Ashurst’s head of HR for EMEA and US, said: ‘We recognise that this has been a difficult time for those directly affected by the changes and we aimed to deal with the process sensitively, openly and respectfully for those impacted. We have been very grateful to our staff for being engaged and professional through this time and we thank them for this.’