Legal Business Blogs

Redundancy watch: Clyde and Eversheds confirm job losses as cuts keep coming

The run of gloomy news regarding job cuts continues with Clyde & Co and Eversheds this week confirming job losses as 2013 looks set to rival the deep run of cuts at major law firms seen in 2009.

Clyde confirmed that it has made eight support staff redundant after a consultation earlier in the year. The top 20 UK law firm declined to confirm reports that it had separately made two senior associates redundant in its Manchester office.

Eversheds confirmed today (24 May) that 116 staff would be made redundant across the firm. This follows a redundancy consultation that placed 166 jobs at risk, including 82 fee earners, at the beginning of the year. This was the UK law firm’s sixth redundancy round since 2007.

In a statement the firm said: ‘Following the restructuring that we announced in January, the final number of redundancies that occurred across the firm was 116. This was significantly lower than the 166 positions that were put at risk as a result of the consultation exercise.

‘We have been able to redeploy a number of our people into other parts of the business. Where redeployment was not possible, significant outplacement support was offered to all affected.’

The run of announcements come as a series of major law firms have announced impending or actual job losses including Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), CMS Cameron McKenna, Osborne Clarke, DWF, Olswang and Farrer & Co.

BLP in particular attracted attention for last week announcing a sweeping consultation that put more than 100 jobs at risk. The 720-lawyer firm is tipped to see a sharp fall in profitability for its 2012/13 financial year.

On current form, 2013 looks likely to see more than 1,000 job losses at major UK law firms – the deepest run of cuts since 2009 when around 2,500 legal jobs were shed in the wake of the banking crisis.

As yet, one difference is that leading London law firms have largely avoided the kind of sweeping job losses seen in 2009, when Linklaters, Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance all made more than 100 staff redundant in the UK. With law firm leaders generally gloomy over prospects for the second half of 2013, few are expecting the run of job losses to be over.