Clifford Chance to make 80 London lawyers redundant

Clifford Chance has begun a redundancy consultation that will lead to 70 or 80 London lawyers losing their jobs, while partners voted to significantly increase their cash contributions to the firm over the Christmas period.

<a class=Clifford Chance to make 80 London lawyers redundant” class=”inline_image inline_image_left” src=”/pictures/web/images/15561_clifford_chance.jpg” />Clifford Chance has begun a redundancy consultation that will lead to 70 to 80 London lawyers losing their jobs, while partners voted to significantly increase their cash contributions to the firm over the Christmas period.

Lawyers across all practice areas will be affected by the redundancy programme.

In a statement, London managing partner Jeremy Sandelson said: “We have not taken this decision lightly. However, like any other business, we have to respond to prevailing market conditions.

“Our clients and their legal services needs have undergone significant change over the past year. We need to reflect that in the London office, and that includes ensuring that our level of staffing is appropriate for today’s economic realities.

“By taking action now, we believe we will be well placed once conditions begin to improve.”

The consultation is expected to conclude in around four to five weeks. A separate review process for support staff will be held at a later date.

The London redundancies follow cuts in the firm’s New York litigation practice last year (TheLawyer.com, 14 October 2008).

Clifford Chance employs around 880 fee earners, including paralegals, in London. All of these are subject to the redundancy review.

A spokesperson said that trainees and those qualifying with the firm in March would not be affected by the consultation.

Meanwhile, the firm’s equity partners voted to increase the capital contributions made by partners at the top of the firm’s lockstep by around £100,000.

A spokesperson at the firm said: “As part of the ongoing management of the firm’s finances, our partnership recently voted in favour of an increase to equity partners’ capital contributions to match the growth in our business since the last call.

“Raising additional capital is one of a number of standard financial measures that we take from time to time to ensure that we are best placed for the long-term development of the firm globally.”

William Arthur, former head of Barclays professional practices team and now a consultant at Kerma Partners, said: “Clifford Chance are being defensive and cautious. This is an appropriate and sensible move.”

The news that partners were asked to make cash contributions was first reported by US legal blog abovethelaw.com.

For more on the Clifford Chance redundancies, read this week’s leader or our Legal Job Watchblog post.

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