Ashurst London support staff base to shrink by 120 roles

Ashurst’s collective redundancy consultation has come to an end, with the firm due to cut just over 120 support staff jobs from its City base.

The consultation kicked off in June, when the firm announced it was to transfer a large proportion of its London-based support staff to its new low-cost office in Glasgow (12 June 2013). At the time, the firm said that some 350 back-office roles were up for review.

The review impacted all staff in the firm’s London business services group, which includes those working in IT, business development, finance, HR, risk and compliance, business services, and knowledge and learning.

It is thought that every staff member affected by the cuts has been offered the opportunity to relocate to the firm’s Glasgow base, and so far there have been a number of acceptances. A spokesperson insisted that a number of staff will be found replacement positions in London.

Some individuals who have declined the Glasgow offer and have not been found replacement roles have already been given a notice of redundancy to leave the firm in January.

Management is still in the process of engaging in individual consultations with staff members to discuss their options in a process due to continue for about three months.

The firm’s Glasgow office, which has been in operation for over a month, currently houses six legal analysts – a new role created by the firm covering elements of trainee and paralegal roles. It is expected that this figure will rise to 30 before next summer, in addition to about 120 support staff.

Ashurst’s headcount in Glasgow is expected to grow further, since economic development body Scottish Development International said the firm would receive £2.4m in public funding if it reaches 300 staff within five years.

Funding is roughly proportionate to the number of staff in the base, meaning it would likely receive about £1.2m if it hits its current aim of 150 full-time equivalent roles.

The firm declined to comment on the redundancies.

Just last week, Ashurst partners voted in favour of full financial integration with Ashurst Australia, propelling it from a £323m to a £550m firm (26 September 2013).

Voting is currently underway for the firm’s newly-created chairman position, which is set to replace the senior partner mantle currently held by Charlie Geffen. City litigation partner Ben Tidswell and Sydney-based competition partner Peter Armitage are in the running for the top spot against the incumbent Geffen (24 September 2013). The newly-merged firm’s vice chair and board elections will take place shortly after.