Cost-cutting drive results in redundancies at DLA Direct

DLA Direct, the volume business arm of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, is embarking on a redundancy programme as part of an ongoing cost-cutting drive.

The Bradford-based business employs around 450 staff working in remortgaging, conveyancing and debt recovery. The majority of these are paralegals and support staff.

It is understood that DLA Direct chief executive Andrew Bennett is conducting a review of costs, set to conclude in the coming weeks. Bennett strenuously denied reports that up to 30 staff could be lost.

“We’ve carried out a review of our support costs, which have grown year on year, and have decided to adjust our support cost base. We’re therefore reducing headcount by a small number,” he said. “We operate in very competitive markets where costs need to be controlled.”

Last year, the team suffered a blow after being replaced on the debt recovery panel of HM Customs and Excise by South West firm Clarke Willmott, although DLA Direct sources have played down the impact of the loss.

It is understood the Bradford arm, which last year contributed around 5 per cent to DLA’s total turnover, is failing to meet budget this year despite a significant IT investment.

In the past, DLA Piper has been in discussions with venture capital companies with a view to selling off the business, although The Lawyer understands the Bradford arm is no longer up for sale. The volume business remains part of the DLA operating business, separate from Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, which DLA merged with earlier this year.