Legal Business Blogs

A gloomy week for legal job prospects as OC follows BLP to announce likely job cuts

Osborne Clarke (OC) is to make up to 13 fee-earners redundant as it begins a two-week consultation, the top 50 UK law firm announced today (15 May).

Managing partner Simon Beswick said that the 400-lawyer firm would be informing associates affected by the consultation today in response to what he said was ‘over-capacity’ in the business.

Beswick also said that ‘steps had already been taken’ to deal with over-manning in its partnership ranks, citing pressure from clients for advisers to more efficiency handle their work.

‘In better economic times you wouldn’t have to do anything because of the natural attrition of lawyers, but at the moment nobody is leaving,’ he told Legal Business.

‘We have had a structural over-capacity in the business at associate and senior solicitor levels for a while now. We had hoped that this issue would naturally unwind but over the past few months it became clear that this would not be the case. Looking forward, we can’t see that position changing, so we have had to address this issue to maintain the strength of our business.’

The move comes despite the Bristol-based firm being active in the partner recruitment market in recent months, with OC in 2013 hiring eight partners in its London arm. Berwin Leighton Paisner also this week announced that it was set to make substantial job cuts after putting more than 100 staff at risk of redundancy.

Other major law firms to this year announce job cuts include Eversheds, Pinsent Masons and CMS Cameron McKenna.