Addleshaw Goddard is preparing for dramatic post-merger cuts of underperforming partners, with those affected expected to be told before Christmas.
Sources close to the firm indicate that up to 12 partners will be asked to leave the newly merged firm, but Addleshaws' management is understood not to be planning any formal announcement. Speculation about the impending cuts is rife within Addleshaws at present. Sources within the smaller legacy Theodore Goddard partnership are concerned that the cuts will primarily affect its members, although this has not been confirmed to the partners.
Addleshaws announced at the time of the merger that no partners from either legacy firm would be subject to a lock-in period (The Lawyer, 1 May), which is a rarity among newly combined firms.
Addleshaws is in the middle of a profitability drive. In the 2002-03 financial year, profits per equity partner dipped by 9 per cent to £250,000 at Addleshaw Booth and went down 10 per cent to £330,000 at Theodore Goddard, according to The Lawyer 100.
The move is also understood to form part of the firm's ambitious push into the City and a renewed focus on corporate and FTSE 350 clients.
"This is speculation, and the firm's policy is not to comment on speculation," an Addleshaws spokesman said.
One source indicated that it is likely that the affected partners will be told individually. This is in stark contrast to the situation in May 2002 at the old Addleshaw Booth & Co, when managing and senior partners Mark Jones and Paul Lee, who retained the same positions at the merged firm, made a partnership-wide announcement that 11 partners were being cut.