The firm is targeting an additional income of £1m in the first year of the launch, increasing by £1m per year thereafter. This comes after the hire of a 31-strong social housing team from Cobbetts boosted the coffers of Shoosmiths’ Birmingham office by 20 per cent within six months of the team joining last year (The Lawyer, 6 October 2008).
In both Milton Keynes and The Solent eight to 10 lawyers will be redeployed from property, litigation, employment and corporate and an additional two social housing experts will be hired.
Head of social housing Andy Ballard said: “Anyone who’s under 50 and reads The Guardian gets brought on.”
Ballard argued that the redeployments are not a way of dealing with latent capacity after the firm made 109 redundancies earlier this year and staff earning more than £25,000 agreed to take a 2.5 per cent pay cut.
“We’ve already tightened our ship, we’ve got rid of surplus capacity. We want people who are committed. You can’t shoehorn people because they’ll revert to type,” he emphasised.