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Dentons axes five lawyers from Watford office after consultation

Dentons’ Watford internal staff consultation, launched in March, has concluded with the axing of five lawyers – two partners and three junior solicitors, alongside a paralegal and three secretaries.

The partners in the Watford office form the majority of legacy firm Matthew Arnold & Baldwin’s 75 person banking and finance litigation team, of which 11 partners and 64 fee earners joined Dentons on 1 February last year.

The Watford-based firm ceased trading in January 2016 following its merger with Dentons, with 30 of its lawyers moving to national firm Veale Wasborough Visards and others to Hill Dickinson.

The banking and finance litigation team won the firm major litigation instructions for defending Barclays in its £20m case from a major Libor and swaps mis-selling claim brought by the liquidators of now defunct caravan company, Arthur Holgate & Sons.

This March, a Dentons’ spokesperson told Legal Business that the ‘flexible resourcing model’ that it offers from its Watford office was “designed to be responsive to the financial litigation and regulatory requirements of our banking clients,’ and that ‘following the conclusion of some major pieces of litigation we can confirm that we are regrettably making a small reduction to the size of the team.’

Also in March, Dentons’ European and UK arms launched a new joint back-office function in Warsaw, with around 70 people, leading to the loss of around 25 UK roles.

In the same period, the firm’s US business cut 60 job losses across 22 offices, following the 2015 tie-up of McKenna Long & Aldridge and Dentons in the US.

In the first quarter of this year, the world’s largest firm by headcount announced that it would open six new offices in Mexico, Barbados, Saudi Arabia, Georgia, the Netherlands and Brazil.

In November last year, Dentons also emerged as a potential suitor to save the beleaguered European arm of King & Wood Mallesons ahead of its collapse. The deal did not go through.

This latest move leaves Dentons’ Watford office with 70 lawyers and paralegals, including eight partners.

Dentons declined to comment.

Read more: ‘The pitch – A new kind of global law firm emerges but can Dentons live up to the hype?’