Kilpatrick Stockton braces for more layoffs in London

Kilpatrick Stockton is set to conduct a swathe of compulsory redundancies as part of its ongoing bid to slash its London office.

Preliminary voluntary redundancy negotiations have failed to reduce the office’s size as much as the firm’s executive committee had hoped – only cutting it by eight fee-earners to a total of 30.

The committee, which in September ordered the office’s sizable projects, commercial property and international business teams to be slashed, is now threatening to begin a campaign of compulsory redundancies.

London managing partner Gerald Jeutter confirmed that, following the completion of the voluntary redundancy stage, the firm was “evaluating if it is going to go through to the compulsory redundancy stage”.

As first reported in The Lawyer (21 September), the Atlanta-based firm entered redundancy negotiations with the majority of staff in its London office in a bid to drastically downsize and refocus the office in the image of its US practice by year end.

Five associates left the firm’s London office last month as part of voluntary redundancy negotiations.

Atlanta-based international head of IP Virginia Taylor, who had been based in the London office for the last year with a remit to, in the words of a source, “get London sorted”, returned to Atlanta last month.

Corporate partner Vishvas Kanji has left for Mishcon de Reya, arbitration partner Per Runeland has moved to SJ Berwin, while property partner Mark Johnstone has joined Finers Stephens Innocent.

The shake-up follows a three-month review of the London office over the summer, during which time the firm’s executive committee concluded that the UK practice that it inherited from the defunct Altheimer & Gray did not fit with the firm’s core international business.