A&O redundancy programme ends with 400 layoffs

Allen & Overy has completed a redundancy programme which has seen at least 400 partners and staff lose their jobs globally and cost the firm £44m.

The consultation process, which was launched in February with the firm citing global market conditions as the cause, was designed to cut nine per cent of partners, fee-earners and support staff.

All those affected will have left by tomorrow, 30 April 2009. The firm declined to comment on the total involved, but a spokesperson said that once additional voluntary redundancies are included, the total number of job cuts would be higher than what was initially envisaged.

As well as cutting 47 partners globally, the firm cut around 200 fee-earners and 200 members of support staff, half of which are based in London. Allen & Overy de-equitised a further 35 partners. At the end of the last financial year the firm had a total of 2,686 fee-earners, 474 partners and 4,949 staff. Particularly badly hit was the firm’s former flagship leveraged finance practice (9 March)

The process was officially launched with a partner conference call with senior partner David Morley in which he outlined eight principles by which it would be conducted.

They were: that the process should be market-led, comprehensive, in line with the firm’s culture and ethos and its global strategic focus, that it should be fair, put the firm in the best possible shape to get through the recession, quick and should consider additional measures including voluntary redundancies, reduced hours, reduced pay, sabbaticals, secondments and deferrals of start dates for new trainees.

As part of the restructuring, the firm de-merged its private client practice, which will become an independent firm, Maurice, Turnor Gardner with effect from 1 May 2009.