Dewey – could it happen here?

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  • This cascade failure very nearly collapsed a medium sized law firm in Newcastle during the recession.
    Now DWF have entered the market, rumours about a different firm losing a significant number of partners are circulating. Apparently once a set of covenants end then there will be a migration of several big names. I guess we will see if it materialises.

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  • Can and will

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  • It is probably happening at more than one firm right now.

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  • Don't forget the Ian Austin of Halliwells suggested the decision by most of the Sheffield office to move to Kennedys was the straw that broke the camel's back. Halliwells equity partners behaviour led to a mass exodus and that exodus had as much to do with the firm failing as its debts.

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  • @ 'It has already happened'. That is an excellent point, and one that I seek to make in my various blogs on cascade failure. Beyond a certain point, it doesn't really matter what the underlying reasons are, the mere fact that partners are leaving will cause others to bail out, and this can escalate alarmingly quickly.

    Although the firms which have failed to date all seem to have had fatally dysfunctional factors at work, it's equally possible that a reasonably healthy, but unspectacular, performer could succumb to the same fate if multiple partners or teams leave at the same time, although I concede it is more likely that this expresses itself as a chronic, inexorable decline as all the good people leave and the firm cannot or will not recruit good ones to replace them.

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