Legal Business

KWM – ultimately a question of confidence

These are tough times for the house that Stanley Berwin built, with exhibit A being recent news that King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is undergoing a sweeping partnership restructuring set to trim its European business by nearly two dozen partners, or 15% of its ranks. While global managing partner Stuart Fuller (pictured) attempts to frame the move as repositioning KWM for the future, the storm clouds are ominous. The firm has suffered a string of significant exits in the last 18 months in its funds, litigation and corporate practices, losing several notable clients along the way. The firm was already going through a performance-driven partnership review set to manage out at least 10% of its ranks by this April (the firm’s German practice has struggled particularly). While the firm managed to achieve respectable growth in 2014/15 and increases in profitability in Europe, having to go through more major cuts is hardly an advertisement for its partnership.