Bank lawyers face unhappy New Year

In-house lawyers at London’s major investment banks are bracing themselves for a fresh round of redundancies after seeing 10 per cent of legal staff at some banks losing their jobs.


Bank lawyers face unhappy New YearIn-house lawyers at the major investment banks in London are bracing themselves for a fresh round of redundancies after seeing 10 per cent of legal staff at some banks losing their jobs over the past three months.

More than 50 lawyers have been axed following a series of cuts by Citi, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Nomura during the last quarter.

But sources say there are likely to be more redundancies early in 2009 as banks continue to downsize and close departments in areas hit by the credit crunch.
One ;recruiter ;said: “There’s going to be lots more next year. Some ­people are already in at-risk discussions.”

The exodus has flooded the market with banking lawyers, who are all competing for a diminishing number of jobs.

Rachel Heron, who deals with legal recruitment at financial institutions for Laurence Simons, warned that ;former ;in-house lawyers are facing a tough recruitment market.

“It’s going to be really hard,” she said. “You’ve got everybody competing for the same thing. We’ve got about 60 former bank lawyers on our books.”

Some recruiters are even advising staff to take a year out using money from redundancy packages and return when the situation has improved.

It is understood that many of the legal redundancies are linked to the closure of ;entire ;departments ­dealing with securitisation and credit derivatives.

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