The firm’s management informed staff in March that 15% of its 160-strong partnership across the UK, continental Europe and the Middle East would lose their jobs as part of a restructure of the business. With 425 business support staff operating across the region, which covers nine offices, the redundancy meant 45 roles came under review.
The decision also meant 24 partners would be asked to leave the firm as part of the process and by early May, filings at Companies House by KWM revealed eight City-based lawyers had already left the partnership.
KWM also announced in February that it was overhauling its practice structure, cutting 17 practice teams into three overarching streams: corporate finance and funds; dispute resolution and regulation; and real estate. Those three teams are headed respectively by Tim Bednall, Tom Usher and William Naunton.
The review is the second to affect legacy SJ Berwin in the last year, and has raised questions over the success of its 2013 union with KWM.
It follows news that Dentons is reviewing 50 back-office jobs in the UK as part of a plan to launch a services centre in Poland, while Norton Rose Fulbright is expected to cut 170 operational roles – an estimated 5% of its global workforce – for its upcoming business services centre launch in the Philippines. DLA Piper made a similar move in early May by announcing it is to slash 200 business support jobs in the UK and shift roles to low-wage economy Poland.
KWM declined to comment.
For more on King & Wood Mallesons see: ‘Sum of its parts: can King & Wood Mallesons match the hype?’