Herbert Smith prepares to cut up to 51 jobs, 23 in corporate

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  • Should be fairly easy to negotiate a good package given that - as they've publicly announced - the reason for the 'redundancies' is to give the jobs to trainees.

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  • A lot more will doubtless be heading out the door through "stealth" processes.
    City Law - aint it great.

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  • Well, lets hope that they cancel the big Alumni shindig planned for tomorrow evening, and put the money back in the coffers to offer the proper payouts!!

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  • @ Anonymous | 30-Apr-2012 12:55 pm - That sort of scummy behaviour is par for the course now, and "Silver Circle" firms are often the worst offenders.

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  • Mr Willis, you and your fellow partners should be feeling extremely proud.

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  • It is the bloated business support functions in these firms that needs looking at and numbers reducing (I would start with Human Remains), not the fee generators/engine rooms.

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  • First A & O, now Herbert Smith. Very unfortunate news. The herd mentality in city law firms means that this will be repeated by other law firms. Large trainee intakes are premised on a bullish market. Currently, business does not match trainee intake levels and associate attrition remains low due to economic uncertainty. Yet firms still need a large number of trainees to provide cheap labour as associate salaries are unsustainable. The whole system is rotten.

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  • To the poster above, I don't think it's Associates' salaries that are unsustainable - firms like HS should look at their top earners and start asking if they really are worth what they get paid. After all, who is it that does most of the leg work on the average deal in these corporate teams that seem first in line for the chop at these firms.... the Associates.
    I would challenge anyone that isn't part of the elite circle of partners earning close on a million or more a year (which may or may not apply to HS' top people) that would say those partners are worth what they are paid. Moves like this are done only so the top earners can keep taking their massively over-inflated pay packets year after year, with a little extra if the urge arises....!

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  • How many hr people at Herbies? Shouldn't those of that ilk go first?

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  • Once again after being assured that these huge "initiatives" can only be for the greater good of all at Herbert Smith, when are the likes of Willis and Scott going to realise that most of us with any form of intelligence had seen through their smokescreen of reassurances long ago?

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  • It is a business at the end of the day. No one wins from associates sitting around doing nothing. Let's get a bit of perspective here. I was at HS during the last redundancy round, and some associates who had been at the firm for 18 months walked away with 55k+

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  • Poor James Palmer. It must be hard for him to accept the fact that his precious corporate department is now the ugly step sister of the considerably more profitable litgation department. He will probably still be denying that the firm is laying off anyone in corporate when they hand him his own pink slip. Wake up and smell the coffee James!

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  • Willis should do the firm a favour and make himself redundent. That picture does a great job of capturing his creepy vampire-like essence. The reason he's not smiling in the picture is because he doesn't want you to see his fangs.

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  • I heard that Hong Kong and Beijing are next on the list. My friend in Herbies' Hong Kong office said that the firm overhired last year in anticipation of an IPO boom that never materialised and now they have a lot of expensive corporate associates taking three hour lunches and going home at 6 every night. You know management won't let that go on for long.

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  • Last time round everyone who kept their jobs had to fill the gap that their colleagues had left without a hint of gratitude from those on their pedestals. Walk past the HR groups at any given time, the offices are full to bursting with people who do virtually nothing apart from when trainees start or redundancies begin. And whats the point of business development when people are being pushed out - who is going to handle all this 'business' if and when it comes in? Lets not get onto the middle managers who it seems have escaped from the whole process....

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  • I agree with the majority of sentiments expressed here but I think it's a bit simplistic to just say that partners should take a pay cut.
    Some might argue otherwise but the reality is that most lawyers are primarily driven by money. If PEP drops then star partners will likely move firms (see all the recent movement of partners from MC to US firms). If the star partners leave then the clients will leave and PEP will reduce further.
    This could easily lead to an even greater number of associate redundancies being made at a later stage than the number that would have needed to be made up front to prevent this process starting (as well as do much more damage to the reputation of the firm).

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  • We all understand the importance of maintaining PEP in order to hold on to talented partners. The problem is that law firms need leverage, ie, associates, in order to generate meaningful profits. Firing countless fee earners while maintaining an equity partnership with countless underperforming partners and a bloated support infrastructure of HR and BD minions is not the answer. Herbies has been on a downward spiral for years now and this is just another step down in the long descent into mediocrity.

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  • @ Anonymous | 1-May-2012 5:39 pm: It may or may not be the case that most lawyers in the Magic or Silver circles are primarily driven by money but don't tar those of us outside that rarified atmosphere with the same brush.
    Many, many, lawyers are driven by a desire to get the best results for our deserving (and sometimes not so deserving) clients rather than just in it for the moolah. We all need to make a living, but we aren't necessarily primarily driven by money.

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  • Their Gulf offices are in turmoil and woefully underperforming and their Saudi tie-up is on the verge of collapse.

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