Richards Butler has started a redundancy programme with all the cuts to be made from its non-contentious practice, underlining its commitment to litigation.
Last week the firm began the consultation process, which could see up to 18 lawyers lose their jobs.
Richards Butler managing partner Roger Parker told The Lawyer: “I can confirm that we’ve commenced a redundancy consultation process in certain parts of our transactional business. A maximum of 18 jobs, primarily fee-earners, are at risk.”
Despite turnover rising by 7 per cent to £91m last year, the non-contentious parts of the firm have struggled and there is an overcapacity, which looks set to go.
If the overall growth is compared with the dramatic rise in litigation, where revenues rose 20 per cent last year, it becomes obvious that the non-contentious practice is suffering.
“We’d hoped not to have had to take this step, but we’re not immune to economic trends as a whole,” continued Parker.
The firm underwent a dramatic strategy change earlier in the year, repositioning itself as a litigation referral practice to take advantage of top firms’ conflicts in the City. Management felt able to do this due to the relatively small size of its finance practice compared with those firms’.
But Parker is keen to dispel fears that the finance practice is being axed, saying it is “a busy and integrated finance practice, which is developing well in a number of specialist fields”.