Legal Business Blogs

Redundancy watch – expansive DWF puts 80 jobs at risk as gloomy job news continues

The steady stream of job cuts seen through May continued this week with the rapidly-assembled national player DWF confirming it has put around 80 roles at risk in a review of the business. The move comes only two months after a previous consultation put 99 jobs under threat following DWF’s recent run of five acquisitions culminated earlier this year in taking on 419 staff from the collapsing Cobbetts.

DWF today (31 May) confirmed that the latest redundancy consultation would affect fee-earners and support staff at the firm’s Manchester, Coventry, Teesside and London bases, while a restructuring at its Birmingham office has been completed seeing two leaving the office with three others finding alternative roles.

In London, 35 secretarial support and administrative roles are under review, although the firm anticipates that only two roles will be lost. The office’s employment team is also awaiting a potential restructure with two or three jobs at risk.

DWF is meanwhile looking to scale back its Manchester finance team with 23 roles at risk, while 11 staff in Coventry and Teesside are currently under consultation with some considering relocation to Birmingham and Newcastle offices. A statement from the firm said that ‘maintaining fully-serviced offices in Coventry and Teesside no longer aligns with the strategy of the firm or the changing needs of clients in these regions’.

This news – which was first reported on RollOnFriday – comes after the firm launched a review of its business in its two Scottish offices, Edinburgh and Glasgow, on 13 May, where 11 roles are at risk. These comprised seven fee-earning roles, three secretarial jobs and one IT position.

Under managing partner Andrew Leitherland (pictured), DWF has sustained a dramatic growth strategy, bulking up through lateral hires and mergers to expand its revenues nearly tenfold over the last decade to a current tally of £200m. However, critics have claimed that the firm will struggle to manage this rate of growth.

DWF’s announcement comes after a run of job cuts across major UK firms with Berwin Leighton Paisner, Eversheds and Osborne Clarke among those announcing recent job losses. On current form it looks likely that more than 1,000 staff will lose their jobs at major UK law firms this year – by far the deepest cuts seen since 2009.