Clifford Chance to cut City associates in response to 'low NQ attrition'

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  • sounds like a bit of a car crash

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  • Can't think of any other industry in which it would be readily accepted that a desire to offer a permanent role to someone ending a 2 year fixed-term contract would be used to justify terminating existing employees.

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  • Those for whom way is being made have a few years until they're recycled/pushed aside for cheaper labour. Start honing those transferable skills now so that you're fully prepared for the tap on the shoulder when (not if) it comes.

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  • Pardon? When we recruited people we expected them to be poached but they weren't so we'll sack them? This simply reflects a lack of work. There's no need to confuse the issue.

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  • CC has vowed not to sack partners only because its partnership deed doesn't allow it too. Links' and A&O's deeds do allow it. So Links and A&O can do it without a vote but CC would need a vote. And the turkeys are not going to vote for Xmas.
    If CC's management had the power then they'd be doing exactly what Links did.

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  • is this the first spray of a lot more blood that will be spilt on the corporate carpets of london's city firms?

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  • Advice to the NQs. Drive drunk in Hong Kong and you will be just fine. If you have a problem just call Mr Charlton.

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  • If there's no work then why the retention of NQs? They say it's important that 'resources' are in line with business need. That smacks of the need for less experienced/cheaper people to do what work there is, rather than there being a lack of work full stop.

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  • The sheer hypocrisy is startling. CC demands team working skills and a desire to work in a collegial environment from its applicants and then it fires a bunch of associates because cheaper labour is available...
    A disgusting decision. Shameful and abhorrent.

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  • @Vercingetorix: I believe CC partners DID vote on the last restructuring and more partners voted 'yes' than stayed. In other words, some turkeys did indeed vote for Christmas.

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  • As always, you need to take the official figure and roughly triple it to take into account all of the "stealth" departures.
    The partners had to do something to celebrate the reduction in the 50p tax rate, this is their present to themselves.

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  • Many partner did indeed vote - with their feet to greener pastures. Think CCs many top funds, PE and corp partners who move to more elite firms.

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  • We all have to go with the times but getting rid of experiance is not always the best way forward to compare it to new cheaper lawyers who just qualified is not a way forward, but who are we to judge what a firm need to do to move forward throught these ruff times.

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  • What's the big deal, other than it's surpising that the downsizing is not much bigger?

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  • I am surprised that 'Christina Bryan' is not on here, vociferously justifying CC's actions!

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  • Problems if you get larger and larger and keep taking on more and more low margin work!

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  • This is surely Stage 2 of the 'Newcastle model'.
    After deciding to stop promoting associates, the partners replace them with more compliant, less expensive underlinings.
    This ensures the partners who arrived in the 2000s are guaranteed to remain in post for another twenty years as their competition is pushed outside the profession.

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  • This is absolutely normal in a large firm. The way the work allocation is done is that there needs to be a certain number of people at each level, and a 20% per year attrition. If people aren't leaving then they're paying extra for people higher up the lockstep to do jobs, when the work can be done by NQs who get paid 61k a year.

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  • I agree that this does appear like stage 2 of 'the Newcastle Model'. However the firm which pioneered stage 1 of 'the Newcastle Model' is certainly not being hampered by a "low NQ attrition"!
    Like making the partners untouchable in a recession, this policy will kill the firm slowly. Standards will slip and those who suffer from this selfish, greedy scheme will make their feelings known within the profession and to clients. It takes a long time to repair a reputation.

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  • In response to Anoynmous@10.24:
    Can't think of any other industry in which it would be readily accepted that a desire to offer a permanent role to someone ending a 2 year fixed-term contract would be used to justify terminating existing employees.
    - I can't think of any other industry where said permanent employees would have an automatic entitlement to 10-20% pay rises year-on-year; where associates are charged out on a similar fee base (indeed, that fee base moves on a 6-month basis at some firms).
    Associates can't have it both ways: if you want lockstep salaries, guess what... you need attrition to keep the pyramid in check. The broader problem, however, is the utter evisceration of CC's strategy - like that other British brand (Tesco), the market has shifted and it needs to urgently redefine itself. 13 redundancies won't make a dent.

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  • Many businesses cull the bottom 10 percent performers, even in good times. So to make less than 1 percent redundant now, why should that even have to be justified?

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  • Interesting approach to a redundancy program....can low attrition really be used to justify redundancy in law or is this one of those "other significant business reasons"? And surely there may be a hint of age discrimination at least indirectly as the new qualifiers are likely to be younger than the experienced associates.

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  • "If there's no work then why the retention of NQs?"
    Because NQs are cheaper than senior associates. Have no doubt all the lawyers being canned by CC are senior associates.
    For all intents and purposes CC is taking an up or out approach to senior associates. It was already like this in the boom times, its just the seniors who weren't going to get promoted would jump into a lateral position; now they need to be pushed.
    Is it moral or pleasant? No.
    Is it typical? Yes - CC's peers and clients in the banking sector all take the same approach.
    If some firms need to shrink to become maintain profits that is what they will do. Partners only care about profits. Anyone who wants a pleasant and collegiate working environment should avoid City law firms. Better to apply for a job at Google.

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  • Why do partners only care about profits? Surely there is more to life? Is the City a temple to greed? What does that achieve? Are their children proud of them? Do their children even know who they are?
    That's depressing.

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  • This is awful - absolute disgrace. Can this even be deemed true "redundancy" circumstances?

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  • who cares. they're from CC, there's plenty of work around and they'll get new jobs. It's not the end of the world. Good luck to the newbies and keep an open mind about broader opportunities than just CC. It works both ways.

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  • "Zebra Crossing" - Fear not, I am here. I do not justify everything CC does, just my point regarding Peter Charlton. After working for CC for over 22 years, I am well aware that there are many CC actions that do not require justification. And also that there is a very nice world outside CC.

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