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The News that Clifford Chance is to lay off 70-80 London lawyers spurred an avalanche of debate from readers of TheLawyer.com, with the story swiftly becoming one of the most read in the website’s history.
While some reader comments commended Clifford Chance for demonstrating sound business sense in making the cuts, others felt the move was the culmination of several years of bad management.
One comment read: “It can only be poor management to hire excessively throughout 2005-7 then reverse gears into ‘performance reviews’ and now redundancies.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by a reader who questioned how dynamic Clifford Chance actually is as a firm.
The ;reader ;wrote: “Clifford Chance has never operated as a ‘lean machine’.
They have huge numbers of business staff in the London office sitting around doing the absolute bare minimum. A lot of these staff members have also been with the firm for many, many years and have been carried along.”
Another reader felt this stance was unfair to the firm’s business staff, arguing that to accuse support staff of having little to do was “a joke”, adding: “I think the average business service/ fee-earner ratio is now up to around 5 and some a lot more. The best way to cut costs is get rid of half the partners.”
But another reader, who identified themself as Future MC Trainee, said Clifford Chance deserved “massive congrats for taking the adult approach”.