May forecast: gloomy, with sunny spells

Nobody likes being the bearer of bad news, particularly when Britain is being hit by snow and 65mph winds in mid-May. But in the theme of moping, we might as well mope and moan a bit more. Because this week’s news has been about shrinking companies and streamlined legal teams, which isn’t much fun for anyone.

First to join our misery party is construction company Lend Lease. The business confirmed that it was scaling back its European business earlier this week, when we announced that senior legal counsel Alistair Cutts is understood to have left the group.

Next up is Henderson Global Investors, which has seen its UK in-house legal team shrink by nearly 30 per cent (from 11 to eight) in the past year. While the move follows the team’s shift to send more lower-level work to law firms, none of the three exits over the last year were a result of redundancies – so we can have a fizzy pop and a dance.

So let’s end on a high. Happy stories over the last week have been hires at sausage-skin maker Devro and Nokia Siemens Networks. Now we just need the snow to melt.

Also on The Lawyer:

Barclays deputy general counsel Michael Shaw is understood to be leading the race to replace Mark Harding as the bank’s legal chief

Taking a radical approach to outsourcing helped Chris Vaughan, GC at infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty, build a legal function fit for a complicated world.

IT was the place to be in April, with Shearman & Sterling involved in the sale of the ‘Chinese Twitter’ and Hogan Lovells in on the biggest corporate bond offering the world has ever seen, at Apple