Allen & Overy and out

<a class=Allen & Overy and out” />So Allen & Overy has now joined most of its magic circle rivals in restructuring its global business. It was really just a matter of time.

Things change quickly during a downturn. Last October, A&O came close to launching a new US office in Washington, DC. And New York head Kevin O’Shea has been vocal about the firm’s appetite for growth in the US, despite the dire economic conditions.

But with two of its magic circle rivals busy streamlining and reshaping, there are those who say this is too good an opportunity to miss.

“Yes, everyone is struggling,” says one US partner. “But the current environment also provides a good opportunity for firms to trim their business and shape it how you want it to operate for coming years.”

Just as with Clifford Chance and Linklaters before it, A&O’s New York office will not be immune to the widespread partner and associate cull.

Numbers are not yet clear but the firm’s US office is already working through the restructuring process, with the job cuts set to be made within two weeks.

Whatever the reasons for the cull, Allen & Overy will not want to drag the process out any more than is necessary.

“This decision has not been taken lightly,” says one firm source. “It’s important that we get this right.”