Legal Business Blogs

Fasken Martineau slashes London lawyer headcount by a third ahead of office move

Fasken Martineau will close the doors of its Hanover Square office at the end of this week, relocating a significantly reduced 10 lawyer team to London’s Old Broad Street. Lawyer headcount at the firm’s City office has been cut by almost a third in just a few months, having 28 fee-earners at the beginning of this year.

The Canadian firm’s London headcount has been dropping steadily across the past two years. Figures from Legal Business Global London show the firm’s total City fee-earner count was 59 in 2015, dropping 16% on 2014’s level of 70. Partner numbers also declined 26% from 31 to 23.

The firm said its London office was under consultation in October last year, with the possibility of 70 job cuts. Since that time Companies House records show 19 individuals have left the partnership, including the firm’s former City head Gary Howes, who is now a consultant at the firm. While at the start of this year, the firm had 15 partners, only four partners move to the new London office: managing partner Al Gourley, co-leader of the firm’s global energy group Akinjide Abayomi, infrastructure projects partner Thomas Wexler and natural resources partner Jodi Katz.

Some of the partners that have left Fasken Martineau have moved on to various firms including Clyde & Co, Nabarro, Fladgate and Winckworth Sherwood.

A Fasken Martineau spokeswoman said: ‘We were refocusing our office and we’ve continued on that same path. We’ve significantly reduced our headcount and focused our business in our core areas – banking, corporate, mining and oil and gas. Our commitment to our clients and our business internationally remains the same. Partners have moved on and we’re opening next week with an office that is better suited for our size.’

The firm has eight offices with more than 700 lawyers across Canada and in the UK and South Africa, where it formed an alliance with Simmons & Simmons in 2014.