Legal Business

Taylor Wessing loses former insurance head to Edwards Wildman in second US raid

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In the second US foray into Taylor Wessing’s partner pool this month, the top 20 firm has lost its former head of international insurance & reinsurance James Crabtree, who joins Amlaw 100 firm Edwards Wildman’s London office as a partner.

The insurance disputes lawyer joins Wildman’s 15-strong insurance team in the City. Prior to joining Taylor Wessing almost eight years ago, Crabtree served as head of insurance and reinsurance disputes at Pinsent Masons, and was also previously a partner at Stephenson Harwood.

Crabtree specialises in disputes concerning marine and energy market claims, asbestos, environmental pollution and health hazard losses, and financial institutions claims.

Wildman’s co-chair of insurance & reinsurance, David Kendall said: ‘[James] brings a good client following and has strong experience in a number of areas, including many specific areas where the firm has considerable strength including international claims, run-off portfolios and arbitration.’

A spokesperson for Taylor Wessing said: ‘We all wish James the very best of luck in his new role.’

Crabtree’s departure follows that of private equity and investment funds partner Tom Cartwright, who earlier this month joined Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ London business and finance practice.

Cartwright, who joined Taylor Wessing in 2007 from legacy Hammonds, where he became a partner in 2004, advises private equity and hedge funds based in London and New York.

Christopher Harrison, co-managing partner of Morgan Lewis’s London office said: ‘Tom’s addition continues the expansion and meaningful transformation that our London office has undergone in recent years as part of an effort to provide UK and international clients counsel across a broad range of matters.’

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Deal watch: Taylor Wessing and Freshfields advise on HSBC Jordan bank deal

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HSBC’s steps to streamline its business by disposing of non-core global assets has gifted Taylor Wessing and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with a significant Middle East mandate, as Arab Jordan Investment Bank (AJIB) acquires the international retail bank’s local assets.

Taylor Wessing’s City-based corporate partner Ronald Graham advised AJIB on the deal, which constitutes one of the biggest banking agreements that Jordan has ever seen, with support from local firm Dajani & Associates.

Freshfields’ Dubai office, led by corporate partner Michael Hilton, advised HSBC.

Announced on 20 January and expected to complete during the first half of 2014, AJIB has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum for HSBC’s business in Jordan, which on 30 September last year comprised of four branches with gross assets worth approximately $1.2 billion.

AJIB’s chief executive, Hani AL-Qadi said that the bank was ‘pleased to have signed the agreement which has full regulatory backing’, according to a statement, which also stated the deal is part of AJIB’s growth strategy as it consolidates its market share in the Jordanian market.

The move comes as the wider Middle East region has seen a number of international entrants or firms expanding their presence, with Morgan Lewis & Bockius; White & Case; Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton; Baker & McKenzie and Addleshaw Goddard all recently setting up in Dubai.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

To be included in future Deal Watch round ups please send your announcements to caroline.hill@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Real estate round-up: Clifford Chance, Taylor Wessing and Burges Salmon start New Year on front foot

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Clifford Chance (CC), Taylor Wessing and Burges Salmon have emerged as the pace setters for real estate work in the first few days of 2014, with each having completed significant UK commercial property deals recently.

Clifford Chance advised GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, on both the purchase of a 50% interest in the Broadgate Estate from Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe III and Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI and GIC’s 50:50 joint venture with British Land to ‘enable the future development of the estate,’ according to the firm.

The joint venture aims to focus on widening Broadgate’s appeal from a traditional City-focused occupier base to ‘cater for the growing creative district centred around Shoreditch and the emerging tech-focused area around Old Street’. British Land’s 2013 annual report cites the portfolio value of Broadgate at over £3bn.

As befits a deal of this scale, a very senior multi-disciplinary team was led by corporate partner Mark Poulton, alongside global head of corporate and incoming global managing partner Matthew Layton. The deal also featured London head of real estate Jonathan Solomon, corporate partner Adrian Levy, real estate finance partner Jane Cheong Tung Sing, real estate partner Nigel Howorth, head of real estate tax David Saleh, corporate partner Steve Curtis, and antitrust partner Greg Olsen.

Poulton said: ‘We were delighted to advise GIC on this major real estate acquisition and were able to field a multi-disciplinary team in order to meet the client’s requirements. This type of complex corporate real estate transaction is where we can really add value to our clients by bringing together our corporate, real estate, real estate tax, real estate finance specialists from across our real estate sector group.’

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s City-based corporate partner Michael Wolfson led the team advising Blackstone, alongside Berwin Leighton Paisner.

Meanwhile Taylor Wessing advised longstanding client Wainbridge, a private real estate investment group, on the purchase of 11-15 Grosvenor Crescent, SW1, from the Grosvenor Estate, in a £350m scheme that will comprise eleven exclusive apartments overlooking Belgravia, with associated parking and leisure amenities.

Taylor Wessing real estate partner Keith Barnett led the team, which included finance partner Martin Yells, and corporate tax partner Robert Young. The team also advised on the related acquisition and development debt funding provided by Urban Exposure and Letter One, marking the latter’s first financing in the European real estate market.

Principal and co-founder of Wainbridge, Rob Rackind, said: ‘Taylor Wessing were instrumental in our achieving the acquisition of this prime freehold site and in securing its funding. They have provided us with outstanding support.’

Meanwhile, Bristol-based top-50 firm Burges Salmon has acted for the Crown Estate, for which it is a panel firm, on the sale of Honda’s biggest storage depot in Cabot Park, Avonmouth to the BlackRock UK Property Fund and Canmoor for £31m.

Led by senior associate Matthew Sims, the deal forms part of a spate of £130m transactions that the Crown Estate unveiled at at the end of 2013.

Commenting on the sale, Sims said: ‘The firm’s real estate team acted for the Crown Estate in its purchase of Honda’s site in Avonmouth in 2005 and also in the sale of part of Honda’s original site in 2011 for £10.5m, which is now used by The Co-operative Group as a major regional distribution centre. Given our previous involvement, we were delighted to act for the Crown Estate again in its strategic disposal of this site.’

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

H1 2013/14: Taylor Wessing reveals UK revenue increase of 10%

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Taylor Wessing has joined a band of leading City firms to have turned out a double digit increase in revenue for the 2013/14 half year (H1), unveiling a 10% increase in its UK turnover.

The 960-lawyer firm has credited extensive investment, including international expansion and a series of lateral hires for the uptick in its performance, which internationally saw its H1 revenues increase by 9%.

Commenting on the results, managing partner Tim Eyles (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘This is a credible performance. Being up double digits in this market is very pleasing, its consistent with where we hope to be, and reflects a performance that’s pretty good across all our jurisdictions.

‘We’ve also had an active lateral hire programme. It’s something we wish to continue with and be proactive in general on geographical coverage, industry focus and lateral hiring; these are some of the explanations for the pleasing start to the year.’

The top 20 firm has seen a strong performance from its litigation team and an uptick in transactional activity, and Eyles added: ‘There’s also improvement in corporate, real estate, finance and our intellectual property practice is performing well. We’re quietly confident for the New Year.’

In late May the firm announced a 7% 2012/13 global revenue increase from £212m to £288m, while UK revenue grew by 4% to £104.5m.

Taylor Wessing has seen its partnership grow by 15% to 365 in the last financial year, after making 15 lateral hires and 16 promotions globally. It also added a number of offices throughout Europe and Asia, including Bratislava, Brno, Budapest, Kiev, Klagenfurt, Prague, Singapore, Vienna and Warsaw. This heavy investment came on the back of its merger with Austria-based enwc in May last year. More recently, the firm launched in Jakarta via a cooperation agreement with local law firm Hanafiah Ponggawa & Partners (HPRP) in October.

These latest H1 results follow a swathe of positive reports from LB100 firms, including Olswang, which saw revenue up by 15% to £57.6m and Osborne Clarke, up by 12% to €71.6m.

Elsewhere, Bird & Bird this morning attributed a 5% increase in its half-year revenues to the strengthening of its international offering, and newly-merged Ashurst also today reported a 5.8% increase in turnover during the first half of 2013/14 to £298m, attributing the rise to improved economic conditions and an uptick in transactional work.

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Panel review: Taylor Wessing and KWM SJ Berwin secure spots on property developer Essential Living’s ten-strong panel

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Newly-formed rental property developer Essential Living has appointed a ten-strong panel of law firms to its roster as it focuses on ambitious development targets for the coming year, with Taylor Wessing and King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin securing advisory roles ‘with an overarching brief to provide corporate, finance and delivery advice,’ a statement said today (26 November).

Taylor Wessing will provide advice on matters relating to corporate, construction, real estate finance, intellectual property, and employment while SJ Berwin will also advise on corporate and real estate finance as well as environment and planning.

Essential Living, the UK’s first developer and manager of purpose built homes for rent, has also afforded three-year contracts to LB100 firms Mishcon de Reya, Pinsent Masons, RPC, Cripps Harries Hall, DAC Beachcroft, Forsters, Trowers and Hamlins, and Winkworth Sherwood, after a comprehensive selection process.

The company was set up in September 2012 in partnership with real estate investment and advisory firm M3 Capital Partners.

Essential Living is aiming to provide 5,000 private rented homes over the next decade across London and the South East, with an initial $200m funding injection from a M3 Capital fund, Evergreen. The company has so far invested over £60m in development sites.

The company said the selected group has been chosen to advise the business as it looks ‘ahead to an intense period of development work’ with Martin Bellinger, chief operating officer of Essential Living adding: ‘After a fervent year of acquisitions, Essential Living will be very much evolving into a development business. As we increase the number of consultants we work with in delivering 5,000 homes for rent, it is vital we strive to achieve best value wherever possible and we are delighted to have finalised our legal panel.’

The appointment for SJ Berwin comes in the same month as its merger with King & Wood went live, with the firm to be known as King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin in the UK, Europe and Middle East for a transitional period, after which the SJ Berwin name will be dropped.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

The panel in full:

• Taylor Wessing: Corporate, construction, real estate finance, IP, employment and general corporate

• KWM SJ Berwin: Corporate, environment & planning, real estate finance and general corporate

• Cripps Harries Hall: Acquisitions and property litigation

• DAC Beachcroft: Acquisitions and planning

• Forsters: Property litigation, property management and employment

• Mischon de Reya: Acquisitions, property litigation, planning and construction

• Pinsent Masons: Acquisitions, property litigation and registered providers

• RPC: Acquisitions

• Trowers and Hamlins: Construction and registered providers

• Winkworth Sherwood: Planning, property management and registered providers

Legal Business

Key real estate and construction hires for Macfarlanes, Taylor Wessing and Withers

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Property and construction lawyers are taking advantage of being back in vogue with a number of high profile moves in the sector this week including Ashurst partner Anthony Burnett-Scott’s move to Macfarlanes, Nabarro’s head of infrastructure Matthew Jones to Taylor Wessing and Wither’s hire of Fenwick Elliott real estate partner Julie Teal.

At Taylor Wessing, Jones will join the construction and engineering group, working closely with the firm’s real estate group, its planning, funds and tax teams and its banking group in relation to real estate acquisitions and development finance.

Acknowledged by the Legal 500 as offering ‘expert advice on construction and procurement issues,’ Jones advises on all aspects of construction including procurement, drafting and negotiation of building contracts, consultancy appointments, and dispute resolution.

The dual-qualified English-Australian lawyer advised Land Securities in its joint venture with Canary Wharf on the construction of the Walkie Talkie. His previous projects extend to jurisdictions including Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Romania, Barbados, Egypt, Turkey, Australia, Libya and Nigeria – a boost for Taylor Wessing as it seeks to extend its international reach outside of Europe.

On his appointment, Jones (pictured) said Taylor Wessing is a firm ‘both respected and admired for its quality and momentum’ adding: ‘I am enthusiastically looking forward to working with clients and colleagues in the UK, Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere in Europe.

‘In our business it’s people that matter: the clients whom we advise, our colleagues we work together with and the professional community in which we operate. Those relationships – and the opportunity to provide intelligent and astute advice – help to define who we are. I am privileged then to have fond memories and friendships from my time at Nabarro and, looking ahead, will enjoy contributing to Taylor Wessing’s ongoing efforts and success.’

Laurence Cobb, head of construction & engineering at Taylor Wessing, said: ‘Matthew is extremely highly regarded in the construction and real estate community, and his hire is evidence of our commitment to those sectors.’

Elsewhere, third-tier commercial real estate firm Macfarlanes has notched up a third significant partner hire from from top 15 LB100 firm Ashurst, as the arrival of Burnett-Scott follows the hire of former head of construction Anne Minogue in the summer and former head of real estate, Ian Nisse, who joined in the autumn of 2011 and heads the commercial real estate team at Macfarlanes.

Having been a partner at Ashurst since 1999, Burnett-Scott’s clients include supermarket Morrisons and Qatari Diar, which appointed Ashurst to three of its real estate investment legal panels, with the firm providing advice on its construction, infrastructure and engineering projects.

This latest hire from Macfarlanes comes as the highly profitable independent UK firm departs from an almost singularly organic approach to growth, to using lateral hires to build its business in key areas.

The 312-lawyer firm posted a 12% rise in revenues to £114.2m for 2012/13 and a profit per equity partner figure of £985,000, up 9%.

On Burnett-Scott’s appointment, Nisse said: ‘Anthony is a highly experienced real estate partner with an excellent reputation and has advised on some of the most complex, high value real estate transactions in the UK.’

Senior partner Charles Martin, added: ‘Anthony represents an important step in the rebuilding of our commercial property team. The tremendous platform that Ian has built with our full support combines lateral and home-grown talent of the highest calibre. Our ambition is now to lay claim to, and firmly establish, a place at the top table for the most complex real estate projects in the UK, serving the leading players in the market.’

Meanwhile, leading construction firm Fenwick Elliott has lost former SJ Berwin real estate partner Julie Teal to private client firm Withers. Ranked second-tier in the Legal 500, Fenwick Elliott has already witnessed the exit of a number of partners, including Julian Critchlow who joined fellow City firm Payne Hicks Beach to help launch its new construction and energy practice this year. Elsewhere, disputes specialist David Robertson, a former lawyer at Baker & McKenzie, moved to Berwin Leighton Paisner in February, and arbitration expert Frederic Gillion joined Pinsent Masons’ Paris office.

Withers real estate practice group leader Paul Brecknell, said the team’s fee income grew by nearly 20% last year, having ‘experienced a significant growth in demand for construction-related advice, as investors and property owners look to maximise value with developments and improvements.’

Teal added: ‘I have worked with the Withers team for a number of years and have always been impressed by their commitment to achieving their clients’ objectives. The team works on very exciting commercial and residential projects and I look forward to bringing my experience to bear on these.’

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Fourth Asian office for Taylor Wessing as firm ties up with HPRP in Jakarta

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Described by Legal 500 as a ‘dynamic emerging market’, Indonesia has welcomed another international entrant as Taylor Wessing launches in Jakarta via a cooperation agreement with local law firm Hanafiah Ponggawa & Partners (HPRP).

The deal will see top 20 LB100 firm Taylor Wessing and 10-partner HPRP ‘share knowledge, resources and best practice, enabling them to provide a service to clients in Singapore, Indonesia and across Taylor Wessing’s wider network of offices,’ a statement said today (8 October).

Indonesia’s HPRP, ranked first-tier in the Legal 500 in real estate and second-tier in restructuring and insolvency, has been a close partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing in Singapore over the last two years.

The news follows the 964-lawyer firm’s announcement in July that the Singapore office would spearhead a regional network through which it would form alliances with local firms across the ASEAN region. This latest Indonesian agreement will offer clients access to more than 950 legal professionals across 23 offices in the EMEA region.

Tan Chong Huat, managing partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing said: ‘In Singapore we are fortunate to have grown into new markets, and developed practice specialisms along the way. Our partnership with HPRP, one of the most respected law firms in Indonesia, will give a tremendous boost to our regional Southeast Asian practice.’

HPRP managing partner Constant Marino Ponggawa added: ‘Our partners have enjoyed a long-standing and solid relationship with the partners of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing and are pleased to be in association together to offer our clients the added resources and expertise of a full-service international firm.’

Taylor Wessing has three other offices in Asia and is known to be considering its options in relation to a further office opening in Hong Kong.

Many international firms have recently entered into similar partnerships in Indonesia, including top 15 LB100 firm Clyde & Co, which joined up with Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo (LGS) in September, while global verein DLA Piper signed an agreement with Ivan Almaida Baely & Firmansyah (IAB&F) in May.

Elsewhere, White & Case partnered up with Indonesian firm MD & Partners in January, six years after finishing its alliance with local firm Ali Budiardjo Nugroho Reksodiputro. Hogan Lovells also joined up with Hermawan Juniarto in April 2012, and Ashurst entered into an association with Oentoeng Suria & Partners, following its merger with Australia’s Blake Dawson.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Retention round up: mixed bag as Shoosmiths, Dentons, Taylor Wessing record reduced rates

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Following last week’s round of positive trainee retention rates within a mix of Magic Circle, international and regional firms; the latest batch of results has revealed a substantial reduction in the number of newly qualified lawyers offered a position at their respective firms.

It’s bad news for the junior lawyer at Shoosmiths as the national firm announced yesterday (7 July) that it will only retain 41% of NQ trainees. Out of a cohort 22, nine out of 11 trainees have so far accepted jobs while out of the remaining 13 newly qualifieds (NQs), seven have been offered jobs at other law firms, and one will return to a non-legal career.

It follows the release of top-40 firm Shoosmiths’ financials which illustrated a modest 3% rise in turnover while PEP dropped 9.7% from £298,000 to £269,000. The firm attributed this to the rise in average equity partner numbers from 40 to 45 during the year.

A spokesperson for Shoosmiths said: ‘Because our trainees are recruited so far in advance, it’s always difficult to predict exactly what our requirements will be at qualification time.

‘Continuing economic uncertainty makes that doubly difficult, and unfortunately we have fewer vacancies at this point in time for newly-qualified solicitors than trainees. We’re hoping more vacancies will become available between now and September, should the economy pick up. In the meantime, we will take all the steps we can to provide support, guidance and help to those trainees still looking for an NQ role.’

Newly merged Dentons has also posted a modest retention rate compared to its peers so far, of 68%. Of its 25 trainees, 17 accepted offers while three were unsuccessful and five chose not to apply.

The low numbers follow the release of the entity’s first financials last month. Publishing broadly flat figures since combining SNR Denton, Salans and Fraser Milner Casgrain, the results equated to a combined total turnover of £829.7m, in the top 20 of global law firms in terms of turnover.

Top-20 firm Taylor Wessing also announced its retention rate this week, posting a 70% retention rate out of a cohort 23, making disappointing reading on last year’s figure of 86%. This year, three chose not to apply and the 16 out of 20 that did were successful, equalling a retention rate of 86% from that perspective.

‘We always try to retain as many NQs as possible,’ said graduate recruitment partner, Tim Worden. ‘Having trained them, we expect them to be first-rate associates with good prospects for continued career growth at Taylor Wessing. It’s obviously disappointing that our retention rate isn’t as high this year.’

‘Every year we try our best to match the needs of our various practice areas with the areas into which our trainees wish to qualify, but it’s not always easy to find the perfect match. We hope our retention will be back up to normal levels again next year.’

Those results follow the firm’s announcement last week where a recent redundancy consultation resulted in 22 secretary job losses.

In contrast, City firm Nabarro posted an 83% retention rate across its London and Sheffield offices. It’s a significant boost on the firm’s ranks last year which equalled a 69% retention rate last September. Out of 18 that applied this time around, 15 offers were made and all applicants accepted.

Jane Drew, head of graduate recruitment at Nabarro said: ‘We are pleased that all 15 of our offers have been accepted this year and our retention rate has improved after a blip last year. We put a lot of work into the selection process for our trainees and it is always rewarding to welcome such high quality new lawyers to the firm.’

Elsewhere, SJ Berwin, which recently confirmed a ground breaking union with Asia powerhouse King Wood & Mallesons, unveiled an 88% graduate intake for September 2013

Out of 16 applicants, a total of 14 trainees accepted newly qualified roles with the firm, illustrating a 10% improvement on the firms’ Spring retention rate of 78%. The overall retention rate for this year was 83%. To date, 96% per cent of trainees have accepted roles with the firm.

Nicola Bridge, training principle at SJ Berwin said the firm was ‘impressed at the level of talent this year,’ while its continually ‘high’ retention rates ‘demonstrate that SJ Berwin remains an attractive option for trainees.’

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Asia round-up: Bakers ushers in new Singapore head as MoFo and Taylor Wessing plot regional growth

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Aside from the big Asia Pacific news this week of SJ Berwin’s tie-up with King & Wood Mallesons, other major players are expanding in the region or re-freshing their leadership teams.

Baker & McKenzie Wong & Leow, the Singapore arm of Bakers, has appointed a new managing partner. Andy Leck is to replace Edmund Leow, who has been appointed as a Judicial Commissioner in the Supreme Court of Singapore. Leow will leave the global law firm on 31 August to take on his new role.

‘Leow is one of the finest legal minds around, who has practised law with the highest integrity,’ said Wong Kien Keong, chairman of the firm in Singapore

Leck is currently the head of the intellectual property (IP) practice and co-head of the disputes practice in Singapore and has 20 years of experience in contentious and non-contentious IP matters.

Morrison & Foerster, meanwhile, has bulked up its Singapore presence with the hire of corporate partners Jake Robson and Adam Summerly from Norton Rose Fulbright. The firm, which opened in Singapore earlier this year, has landed two Singapore veterans as Robson and Summerly have been in Singapore for eight and 14 years respectively. Both partners’ practices are focused on M&A, private equity, cross-border investment and joint ventures in the banking, insurance, natural resources and telecoms sectors.

‘Jake and Adam, both of whom have extensive M&A experience, bring distinguished track records advising on large and cutting-edge transactions throughout the region,’ said Eric Piesner, Singapore managing partner and firm-wide managing partner for Asia.

Finally, Taylor Wessing‘s Singapore member firm, RHT Law Taylor Wessing, has stated plans to secure formal alliances with local firms in four Southeast Asian markets next month. The firm is looking for tie-ups with firms in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia in the next four months.

Tim Eyles, UK managing partner of Taylor Wessing, commented: ‘Asia is an area of focus for us and we are continuing to develop relationships in Hong Kong and the ASEAN region.’

david.stevenson@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Redundancy watch: DWF, Hill Dickinson and Taylor Wessing all confirm job cuts

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The stream of UK law firm job cuts continues apace as DWF, Hill Dickinson and Taylor Wessing have today (30 July) confirmed that recent redundancy consultations have resulted multiple job losses.

DWF, having completed five mergers in less than 18 months and with a remarkable 84% increase in turnover to £188m, has become one of the most closely watched national practices in the legal market of late. The expansion has led to some significant streamlining of the business however and the firm has confirmed to Legal Business it has cut 38 staff from its ranks following redundancy consultations that began in May.

‘Following a recent restructure, DWF has had a net reduction of 38 roles across the practice groups,’ said a firm statement. The firm would neither specify which offices the job cuts have affected nor which roles.

The redundancies come after DWF announced a review of 80 roles in May, while two months previous to that the firm placed 99 jobs under threat after its run of five acquisitions – and having taken on the heavy load of 419 staff from the collapsing Cobbetts.

DWF also confirmed in May that the redundancy consultation would affect fee-earners and support staff at the firm’s Manchester, Coventry, Teesside and London bases, while restructuring at the Birmingham office was completed with two exiting the office and three others finding alternative roles.

Meanwhile Hill Dickinson, following an announcement in April that it would be reviewing jobs ‘in response to the prevailing market conditions’ has announced a total of 83 job losses, including 14 partners and 69 employees – 44 of which are leaving on a voluntary basis.

The news was confirmed shortly after the firm had announced it has sold its Chester office to Midlands firm Knights Solicitors for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is a first for the James Caan-led Knights following the private equity investment it received from Hamilton Bradshaw in June 2012.

The cuts are a surprise given Hill Dickinson has averaged 10% revenue growth over the last five years and posted a 22% rise in profit per lawyer in 2011/12.

Senior partner David Wareing said: ‘This has been a sensitive time for all involved and we have done our utmost to conduct a professional and thorough consultation process with our staff throughout.

‘We have a strong and sustainable business and indeed many of our teams recorded revenue growth in the last financial year. Inevitably however, we have been affected like all our competitors by the difficult trading conditions which presently exist in our regional centres and accordingly it has been necessary for us to proactively manage the business to ensure the stability of the firm as a whole and to enable us to continue to further invest in the business in the future.’

In the City, Taylor Wessing, having enjoyed modest financial growth this year with UK revenue growing 4% to £104.5m, has confirmed 22 secretaries will be made redundant. This was originally anticipated to be 26 out of a consultation of 96 secretarial roles which began in June.

The firm said the consultation was part of a restructure of its secretarial resource rather than simply a headcount reduction exercise. It also expects a new secretarial support model to improve workplace efficiency with new secretarial services desk that will provide document services support to secretaries and fee-earners alike.

Finally, just four partners and eight staff at DLA Piper have decided to accept permanent relocation from its now closed Glasgow office to Edinburgh. This follows a three-month trial period in which the 10 partners and 30 other staff could decide whether to make the move. DLA declined to comment.

The latest cuts by Taylor Wessing, DLA Piper, DWF, and Hill Dickinson are a string of many across major UK firms under pressure to maintain profit levels, with firms such as Berwin Leighton Paisner and Eversheds both confirming job cuts this year.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk