Capping off a challenging year, Slater and Gordon (S&G) is to close four of its UK offices as it seeks to consolidate its operations.
S&G, which saw its UK revenues for 2017 decline by 17%, told staff on Monday (27 November) that it plans to relocate employees from smaller regional outposts to the firm’s larger UK offices. The firm’s branches in Chester, Wrexham and Milton Keynes will be closed, while S&G’s Preston office will close when the lease on the premises runs out next summer. The firm currently has 14 offices in the UK.
In a statement, S&G said: ‘We have assessed our geographic footprint with a view to bringing it in line with our vision of delivering our services from strategic centres of excellence.
‘We are considering a plan to consolidate a number of our smaller offices into our larger regional hubs, where colleagues can share their outstanding knowledge and expertise across a range of legal fields. We will work closely with the colleagues impacted during the consultation period.’
The announcement caps off an eventful period in the wake of S&G’s troubled £637m acquisition of professional services division of Quindell (now known as Watchstone Group) in March 2015. Quindell later became subject to both Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations. For the six months ending 31 December 2015 S&G posted an A$958m loss, primarily due to a hefty write-down on the Quindell acquisition.
S&G announced a major recapitalisation plan this June that will see its senior lenders take 95% of its equity. The recapitalisation is set to split the listed Australian parent from the UK operation when it competes in the new year.
BLM has expressed an interest in September in taking on S&G’s business legal services division, with BLM confirming that conversations were in the ‘early stages’. Personal injury competitor Irwin Mitchell also looks like a potential suitor, and the firm announced it was hiring a three-partner court of protection team from S&G’s Manchester office in November.