Legal Business Blogs

Redundancy 2013: Watson Farley latest top 40 firm to review secretarial jobs

With 2013 offering all the dubious promise of being the toughest legal labour market since 2013, Watson, Farley & Williams has become the latest top 40 firm to announce it is to review its secretarial support function in its London office.

A firm spokesperson said: ‘Secretaries in WFW’s London office were recently advised that a review of our secretarial support function will be taking place over the next five weeks, following which the team may be restructured if required.

‘This aims to ensure that we have highly skilled and specialised roles that meet the needs of our fee earners.’

The firm would not comment further on the review, first revealed by RollOnFriday, or confirm the number of roles that may be affected.

Watson Farley this year broke through the £100m revenue barrier, announcing an increase of 2% to £102.1m compared to last year’s £99.8m. However, this increase is significantly below average when compared with its revenue growth of 73% over the past five years. PEP has also dropped by 13% to £388,000 from £446,000 in 2012.

The 339-lawyer firm said the rise in revenue and drop in profit was due to a period of heavy investment, including its Hong Kong launch in March 2012 followed by an opening in Frankfurt in January of this year, as well as the six lateral partner hires the firm made last year.

WFW joins a long list of UK practices to announce redundancy reviews in recent months including Hill Dickinson, DWF, Berwin Leighton Paisner and Osborne Clarke.