Addleshaw Goddard cuts 24 fee-earner roles at end of consultation

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  • From what I understand a LOT more have gone by "stealth" over and above announced redundancies.
    This is borne out by the fee earner numbers, down from 490 to 437 over five years, despite far more trainees having qualified in that period than fee earners leaving through retirement/to go to other firms.

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  • @ Anon at 1.12pm, you are correct and I suspect the numbers in the regions have been hit harder than London - to be fair to Addleshaws this pattern would also be seen at Eversheds, DLA and similar firms who have much lower numbers of fee earners in their regional offices than they did 5 years. Squire Sanders has barely 100 fee earners in its Leeds office these days.
    I suppose you could say that Addleshaws have at least had the decency to do this in public rather than managing people out, which is the strategy of many firms.
    Mind you, if they didn't have their very expensive new City office then AG probably wouldn't have had to have made these savings....

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  • @ Anon | 29-Aug-2012 1:12 pm - and the numbers are actually even worse than they first appear as there has also been an office opening, and there will have been some (if not a huge number) lateral recruits too.

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  • Surely though this level of redundancies will happen every few years or so? Why will lack of attrition suddently improve?

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  • I've resisted but can do so no longer. Please - this is not news. The economy is in a mess. People lose their jobs. That's unpleasant but it is not news. It seems the Lawyer and Legal week have become nothing more than a channel for the headhunters to continue their disruptive mischief. Firstly you light the fire and then you allow these people to fan the flames to create uncertainty and concern for those who are employed in the legal sector. The legal sector is a major contributor to GDP and surely as a rag that purports to represent those who work in it you should be doing all you can to support the sector. Allowing the inaccurate and deliberately adgitating commentary from those who consistently fail to display their names is a poor show on your part.
    Am I alone in my frustration?

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  • @Till
    Are you suggesting that the legal press shouldn't report redundancy situations? You seem to be arguing that the Lawyer should be a cheerleader for the sector rather than providing news and analysis.
    I suspect you probably are alone in your frustration, not least because there has actually been very little commentary on overall headcount reduction in the legal press - if anything this story has been quietly buried, there certainly hasn't been any fanning of the flames. Many national/international firms' offices in places like Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham are considerably smaller now than they were in 2004, let alone 2006/7 at the height of the boom. I haven't seen a single article in the Lawyer, Legal Business or Legal Week etc which has analysed the reduction in headcount in the UK offices of the top 50 firms.

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  • Till, I fear you may be alone. A law firm as large and successful as AG is having to make redundant some of their best and most qualified legal staff as they cannot support their salaries and remain competitive as a business model. This is news.
    As for your criticisms of those who are reluctant to post their names, they may have reasons other than being ‘headhunters’. I leave it to you to deduce what those may be.
    This website is a piece of media like any other. It is not there to represent the legal market, just to comment on it. This is exactly what all the people posting are doing. If the Law Society starts supporting such discussion threads, you will have reason to complain.
    I hope you don’t lose your job at AG in the next round of redundancies.

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  • @Till. Your further thoughts?

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  • @Anon 10:11 am
    Agree. Addleshaws will be damned for doing this in public (rightly or wrongly so) but surely the firms that have gone through round after round of stealth headcount reduction need outing. I know of a number of firms that have managed out significantly more than then numbers AG have, all without the (limited) protection a formal redundancy exercise gives people.
    At least AG are open with their strategy, whether we agree with them or not.
    @Till 6:58 pm
    Think you may indeed be alone. The Lawyer as the legal sector's Pravda ain't going to work.
    Headhunters get up to mischief whatever, it's their job!

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  • Are AG the new Dickinson Dees?
    When people say managing out, do they mean making up spurious reasons to boot someone out without even pretending to have cause?

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  • Some of the comments above are truly pathetic. Firstly, it is very clear that this firm has not been open and that far more lawyers have left it by stealth over recent years than through formal redundancy processes.
    Of course it is by no means alone in that regard, but so what, this is an article on a specific firm.
    Secondly, it is truly bizarre that it has been stated that large scale redundancies like this are not news. What the author means is "I don't care about those losing their jobs".
    This economy is in BIG, BIG trouble. Not just facing a vast private and public sector debt burden, a massive asset bubble, and a large and persistent trade deficit, but also a rapid fall in competitiveness compared to fast rising nations in the east.
    Law firms like this, which by the standards of the wider economy enjoy super normal profits, and which do not directly face foreign competition, making large redundancies purely to maintain (or even raise) their super normal profits at this time is damaging to the wider economy. All it does is increase unemployment, increase job insecurity, increase the burden on the state.
    SHAME on this firm.

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  • I dont understand why you all are complaining about businesses reducing their headcount. It is the nature of our global economic system to have ever growing revenues, profits and cash in what is a finite space/environment on our planet. it is not the law firms that are the bad boys or any other employers for that matter, it is our economic system which is dated and needs to be renewed. all of the arguments presented in these comments are flawed as they merely touch the surface of whats wrong in our economy.

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  • Really Anon @ 2:22? The economy may have it's problems. But like it or not, some people consider the current LLP law firm model to be flawed. It would be like turkey's voting for Christmas to expect a partner to acknowledge that a team has become top heavy with partners. So instead, when the levels of work reduce, the senior fee earners are dropped. That's not to say that this strategy represents either best value or quality of service for their clients, simply that the partners ensure that they stay put.
    Some may also say that chasing improving profitability in the current economic climate says more about what is wrong with our society and the attitude of the senior people in this profession rather than the economy itself. If some of the law firms were being run as companies where the senior fee earners (the partners) are not owners of the business, the profile of the redundancies would be significantly different. That's what non-partners find galling. But then it's all part of the perception that junior fee earnrs have that, having made it, most partners have no regard for managing the aspirations of those that follow them.
    It's grown into a sector where too many people in each business want too large a slice of the pie the business makes.

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  • What grates here is the fact that two/three years ago, when times were worse, fee earners at AG agreed to work a four day week, for the good of the firm. Yet now, at a time when AG's profit and PEP both increase, it decides to cull many senior non-partners who have no doubt done much to contribute to those improved figures. What's the point of being loyal if this is how your firm treats you?
    Good luck to AG and their ilk. It's only a matter of time, if that point hasn't already been reached, before sensible clients realise that mid-market law firms (or to quote their rmarketing patter - "full service" law firms) decide they need specailist lawyers and not "we can do that because we're a big firm" generalists. Those days are gone. The Magic Circle and boutiques will thrive. The generalists will wither. Bye bye.

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  • Anonymous | 30-Aug-2012 2:22 pm


    Catch yourself on. Your "I don't care" attitude suggests you're someone who has either managed to keep their job (for now, good luck) so you think you're immune, or you are a partner somewhere doing the firing.

    AG recorded significant profit uplift last year, so are clearly not struggling to maintain profitability with that cost base. All they are looking to do is add on additional super-earnings next year by cutting people who clearly aren't unnecessary overheads - they will presumably have aided the increased earnings through billable hours at higher (more senior) charge out rates.

    If profits had dipped there would almost be an excuse for adjusting the cost base, but to do it on the back of increased profits is just a touch greedy.

    And no, I am not an ex-AG employee or someone who has been made redundant.

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  • @ 30 Aug 9:25pm re 4-day week. Was that out of loyalty or fear that if they didn’t agree, they might be one of those made redundant and struggle to get a comparable job?

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  • Well, at least we know now how AG funded their Berezovsky case. Win and it's tickety-boo; lose and it's sack a load of organ donors. Terrific.

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