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Allen & Overy (A&O) is cutting its partner drawings by 20 per cent to protect the firm in the event of bad end-of-year figures.
The move is deemed precautionary and is being seen as a measure to avoid cashflow problems. "It's the appropriate and correct thing to do. Law firms are run for cash and are finely-run businesses," said a source close to the firm. A second source added: "It may not be necessary, but we're being cautious about what the rest of the year will do." The move puts the profits back to what they were 18 months ago. Profits were £595,000 in 1999, £744,000 in 2000, and £762,000 in 2001. However, if partners overshoot targets then they will be given an extra bonus. Worldwide managing partner John Rink declined to comment on the bonuses. As part of an internal restructuring, A&O is shaking up its private client department, which will refocus its attention on corporate trust work. The turnover of the private client department is believed to be £5m, but there are four partners in the group. Peter Mimpriss is believed to be at the top of lockstep and Claire Morris and Richard Turner near the top, which has a value of £1.25m. However, Rink said that there will always be unprofitable parts of any law firm and that it is important to look at the firm as a whole. He said that the move has come in response to a changing commercial environment. "The nature of trustee work is changing and trusts are now being used in corporate, capital markets and securitisation deals," he commented. "Knowledge of trustee work is in the private client department, and we're refocusing that towards the areas that need it." Mimpriss is retiring next year.