News UK Law firms Cuts and redundancies McGrigors to cut 40 jobs in UK-wide redundancy round By Margaret Taylor 20 October 2010 13:13 17 December 2015 15:52 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 13:53 No partners losing their jobs then? Just fee-earners and supports staff – what a surprise. Gutless. Firm is a mis-managed sinking ship, people should get out asap Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 15:42 Anonymous, are you by any chance one of the 40 being made redundant? Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 15:52 Sign of the times. God, I’m so thankful I’m not a law student in today’s world. What a waste of money it is!! Getting a job in law is tough even in good times. Reply Link Sigh 20 October 2010 at 16:03 To be fair, in theory at least, partners are the ones bringing in the work, so it makes no sense to cut their positions. In theory. Anyway where is there to go from the sinking ship? Doom. Etc. Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 16:12 Anonymous, I don’t know, like many others I will find out next week after what will no doubt be a fairly conducted consulation process. I doubt I will go though. These ineffecutal and failing partners still need gimps like me to do their non-value grunt work while they sit around on their backsides crying over their figures and write-offs Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 17:04 Wonder if I’ll be able to claim back my 2 weeks unpaid leave? Reply Link Scep Tick 20 October 2010 at 17:22 “To be fair, in theory at least, partners are the ones bringing in the work, so it makes no sense to cut their positions.” Well, yes, as they’re failing by NOT getting in the work, so get rid of one useless partner, you save half-a-dozen assistants, support, whatever… Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 17:41 I particularly like the comment from Scep Tick. Well-said! Spot on! It is better to have 2-3 partners who really generate business than 10-15 who are just sitting there thinking about retreats and other perks! Reply Link EC3 20 October 2010 at 17:53 The partners own the business, and got there by hard graft, so they get to fire people. Its the real world, and all you soft-in the-head socialists should wake up to it. Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 18:35 Staff morale is at an all time low. Some huge mistakes made at management level and everyone else is picking up the pieces Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 19:09 I don’t know what will distress McGrigors management more – this news making it into the press or being called an “Edinburgh headquartered firm”. Real shame for their staff though, who are now paying for their firm’s big spending as well as a big recession. Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 19:17 McGrigors is a fantastic law firm to work for. business is business ! Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 20:01 What an untrustworthy bunch of gutless partners – everyone should jump ship Reply Link Anonymous 20 October 2010 at 20:25 The management are so focused on the top line that they have forgotten about the bottom one…. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 09:32 Never. They would never take any responsibility or face the possibility that little Gertrude might not be able to have her pony this Christmas. The ratio of partners to fee earners in certain departments is shocking Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 09:36 This is really disappointing for the 40 involved, and the others who will be part of the consultation process with them until the results are announced. However its worth noting that the firms seem to have done everything they could over a 2 year period to avoid having to make this kind of step – pay freezes, unpaid leave etc. It was a last resort for McGrigors, rather than a first resort as was the case with too many firms. A lot of very good people will lose their jobs here through no fault of their own. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 10:41 The management is so focused on mergers to improve the turnover but at the expense of efficiency and profit. Its a basic and flawed strategy. London is a mess and the Belfast takeover of L’Estrange has been a disaster – both offices are under performing and draining the cash! Its time for strong leadership before this really snowballs. Haliwells II? Watch this space….. Reply Link Citylawfirmworker 21 October 2010 at 10:43 @EC3 – why is everyone suggesting alternatives to fee earner and support staff redundancy automatically a “soft-in-the-head socialist”? Surely we are all grown up and are allowed to talk about grown-up things – like the absence of gearing/capacity management? Would be great to hear a well-thought out argument in favour of the redundancies. True, partners probably did get “there by hard graft” – but as other posters have pointed out, once you get to be a partner and are responsible for a team, billing 100,000 hours should not really your main focus. Its an interesting game we are playing (at non-partner level) – try to bill loads of hours, impress the partners, aspire to join the cosy inner club – but then be confronted with the reality …like equity vs salaried; practice group vs other more lucrative practice group; you are only as good as your last year’s billings etc etc Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 11:06 Hopefully HR tread very carefully through the consultation process and have been meticulous in covering themselves. Historically they have been pretty rubbish and narrowly avoided several discrimination claims this time last year with their completely tactless handling of the NQ jobs. Outrageous what some poor trainees were told. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 11:20 Agree with Anonymous at 9.36am to an extent. The problem with that being some associates were working hard, bringing in large fee incomes and then not having a pay increase or bonus year on year. Effectively carrying the less industrious partners who, of course, have to protect their incomes for not doing an awful lot. Reply Link Dell 21 October 2010 at 11:35 @ 9:36 “its worth noting that the firms seem to have done everything they could over a 2 year period to avoid having to make this kind of step – pay freezes, unpaid leave etc.” “etc” – it covers many things but not, in this case, profits. Whilst profits may be down at most firms lets not forget that partners are still trousering well above average income so more could have been done (if they’d really wanted to). Look at Dragon’s Den (for example), entreprenuers pay themselves peanuts to get businesses running through difficult patches yet partners nevertheless strip out substantial drawings even if it is supported by bank debt. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 11:41 “Scottish law firm”, “Edingburgh headquartered”, these types of terms are being bandied about in the legal press when reporting on the redundancies. Good to see that the recent re-brand the firm under went has been such a success. Be good to know how much that ridiculous project cost and what benefit its actually had other than irritating email recipients when they get a big coloured ‘M’s clogging up their inboxes. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 11:55 @Dell- correct. Despite the staff taking a period of unpaid leave and generally taking the pain of the recession, the partners were still taking home 250-300k or thereabouts. Obviously D&W partners taking home 300k plus this year was the straw that broke the camels back. Got to keep up with the Joneses! Reply Link edinburgh lawyer 21 October 2010 at 12:19 McGrigors has done itself no favours with its previous policy of offering jobs to all qualifying trainees. There are some shockingly bad NQ-4 years qualified people working there – on occasion I have wondered how some of them even got through university. Lets hope for the sake of all the capable fee earners that it is the useless few who are made redundant. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 12:41 Interesting they are coming out and calling it a redundancy programme this time. Plenty of people have mysteriously disappeared over the last year or 2 for various reasons (absolutely not redundancy, no, never that) and yes that includes a few partners. But overdrafts are overdrafts and their accounts show it’s a biggie. V arrogant organisation. Reply Link IHateBPP 21 October 2010 at 13:03 They merged with L’Estraneg and Brett but instead of doing what any sensible firm would do and moving everyone to one of the, many, sizeable offices sitting empty in Belfast they kept the two. Can’t imagine the upkeep in either is cheap given their locations. Reply Link Scottish law firm - get me out of here!! 21 October 2010 at 13:22 The place is in disarray. Big overheads, big overdraft and big egos. I’m still working there but just started looking elsewhere. We picked up a few fat cats in Manchester and Belfast in the last 12 months through “strategic opportunities” but integration hasn’t been that smooth with everyone jostling for positions and many partners on power trips…. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 13:46 A lot of complaining about the partners. Solicitors are cash machines for their firms. They always have been and always will be. The problem with solicitors is that they think if they work really hard and put in lots of extra hours for free then they will be recognised and rewarded. In reality they are just mugs playing the game. If the work is not there, then there is no need for you. Simple. Firms owe you nothing except the salary they agree to pay. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 14:22 As a former employee at McGrigors I am sad to see this news. Not once in my 5+ years there did I ever see the big egos or arrogance that some people are posting about – quite the opposite. Perhaps in the last few years things have changed but there are still a lot of good people there and people I consider my friends. Best of luck to all at McGrigors Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 14:43 I hope the “Dickinson Dees model” (ditch everyone except under-performing partners) isn’t being followed. The A&O model (share the pain) seems to be much more successful. Reply Link Eagle 21 October 2010 at 15:47 McGrigs have had a “grow at any cost” approach for the last few years – taking L&B in Belfast, Leds office in Aberdeen, and loads of ex-Halliwells/Hammonds people in manchester. However those types of add-ons should effectively pay for themselves as they’re already revenue generating (albeit possibly at slightly lower rates now in the current market). The problem for McGrigs is the same as for every other firm – less work going around, at lower rates, but with the same number of salaries to pay. Real Estate and Construction especially. There are some cracking partners and people there who bring in some significant work, but at the bottom end of their partnership (where equity is a max of c.£150,000) to be honest they’re not really any better/worse than anyone else, in that they’ll feel the pinch of market conditions like everyone else. What firm HASN’T made redundancies in the last 2 years? Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 16:13 Being ex-McGrigors, this is sad for me to see. Some of the partners and associates are extremely talented, but there is no doubt the ratio of partners/associates is incorrect and something had to give. Good luck to the 40 under consultation. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 16:31 “huge mistakes made by management” Was one of those mistakes not putting you into a position of responsibility? If you could do better why not go and set up your own firm and in doing so understand the tough decisions that have to be made by “management.” Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 16:49 What was the criteria for “The Lawyer – Regional/National Firm of the Year”? Reply Link Scep Tick 21 October 2010 at 16:54 “The partners own the business, and got there by hard graft, so they get to fire people. ” Well, not quite. Lots of people graft; those who demonstrate they can contribute to the business get to own it. Thing is, it’s easy to contribute to the business when there’s 5 clients chasing every lawyer. Not so easy when there’s 5 lawyers chasing every client. Law prides itself on being a profession. The professional thing is to step down. Sacking those not to blame for your own shortcomings may be business practice. But we’re meant to be above that. Reply Link Dayglo Dave 21 October 2010 at 17:55 Anonymous@2:43pm. You mention the A&O model. They cold-bloodedly culled 9% of their total workforce. Did you mean to say Norton Rose? That firm behaved remarkably well and deserve to be rewarded through greater staff loyalty for many years to come. Reply Link Anonymous 21 October 2010 at 18:21 There is little the Partners in the firm (or any other firm) can do about the general economic environment. There are plenty of jobs available for lawyers so, instead of complaining, those affected should just get out and look for a new role. No one owes you a living. You need to go and earn it. Reply Link An Insider 21 October 2010 at 19:07 I’ve been with McGrigors for a few years. I will miss the cut ….this time. Internally its being badly handled. Its like a funeral in the office. We apparently merged with L’Estrange to improve the Belfast offering and the topline. But the revenue in Belfast is rubbish and the partners there don’t see eye to eye. But thats a whole other story… The jury is still out on Manchester and London should be cut adrift. I have lost confidence in the management team, as have the majority of people sitting close to me. (ps .. I hear the office in the Falklands is going ok…) Reply Link Sean Sniffs 21 October 2010 at 21:12 Talking of Dickinson Dees, word on the street is that they’re ordering in 30 new cardboard boxes for the end of this month. Reply Link Anonymous 22 October 2010 at 03:27 As an ex-mcgrigors person, I have to say I dont agree with the negative comments on here. Mcgs was a great firm to work for and generally they treat their staff very well in comparison to many other firms in the market. best of luck to the current staff. Reply Link Anonymous 22 October 2010 at 11:35 Anonymous@3.27am – I’ve been at the firm for 8 years and can confirm there is no way Mcgrigors remotely resembles the place it once used to be. Reply Link Anonymous 22 October 2010 at 11:45 Anonymous @ 6.21: “There are plenty of jobs available for lawyers”. Are you having a laugh? Reply Link Bring back L'Estrange!! 22 October 2010 at 11:59 The atmosphere in Belfast is one of fear! No one knows what the hell is happening but further job losses seem likely. agreeing employment T&Cs with McGrigors after the merger was like pulling teeth with a rusty spoon but a few months later they can’t even maintain job levels. What next…….??? Reply Link Anonymous 22 October 2010 at 12:49 BAN FRUIT IN THE MORNINGS. Oh, they already did that. Start charging for water?? Reply Link Anonymous 22 October 2010 at 13:24 Maybe they’ll bring back the lunch vouchers! Reply Link buy your own kilt? 22 October 2010 at 13:46 is it true that the are now making staff pay for their own kilts and private editions of braveheart? Reply Link notaMastersfan 22 October 2010 at 15:48 i’m ex-Mcg and not a huge fan of the management there. I spent 4 years working in one offiice and billed well each year. I bumped into the managing partner one morning and he asked if I had seen a fee earner with my name…..? Arrogant clowns with zero business skills.!! Reply Link Anonymous 22 October 2010 at 15:55 mostly good people there below p’ship level (some good p’ners too) but I agree with the mismanagement and partner/fee earner ration comments. Reply Link Lee Easton 22 October 2010 at 18:35 A McGrigors board member who is also the head of one of the teams worst hit by these job losses was so concerned about his staff, that on the day of the announcement he was to be found holidaying in the Caribbean. Nice touch. Reply Link Anonymous 22 October 2010 at 19:17 What way is this firm being run? Redundancies yet they went to St Andrews for the partners conference all flash and no substance! Reply Link Anonymous 22 October 2010 at 23:15 anonymous at 11:45: Look at the Journal every month – plenty of jobs advertised and if you have the drive and talent, you can succeeed anywhere. I suspect the people complaining most are the ones who know deep down that they can’t cut it without the big firm comfort blanket. For the most part, the old legal model is not sustainable in the new climate and it’s time to stop thinking that anyone owes you a living and go out and prove that you are good enough to catch, kill and eat. No firm can carry passengers now. I actually think Management have done a really good job in the last two years. What would anyone out there have done differently? Reply Link Anonymous 23 October 2010 at 00:28 So with fewer support staff again – wonder what clients would think of paying top whack for us typing our own letters – anyone thinking of signing up for a secretarial course? Reply Link mcgrigorsarearubbishfirm 25 October 2010 at 17:09 This is easily one of the most read articles ever to appear on this site. I work in the Belfast office and I’m on the list for potential redundancies. I walked passed one of the partners’ office last week and saw him typing a positive message on here so I thought I would tell the truth. Mcgrigors is a complete mess. An utter shambles in fact. They messed us about after the merger with L&B with the terms of our new contracts. They were arrogant in their approach, treated us like pieces of meat and sent some clown over to “present” to us. I suspected from the start that McGrigors would not be a positive experience for the vast majority of us. I only wish I was wrong. Igore the majority of the positive postings on here as they are being planted by McGrigors. Reply Link Alumni 25 October 2010 at 17:27 As an ex Mgs (and former trainee), Mgs changed for good when it merged with KLegal. It handed over too much power to London and lost its sparkle then. The robust management team that actually knew how to run a firm, kept staff morale high and created a “one firm” atmosphere have either gone or have been silenced by London. And to think in those days, NQ were given a golden hello for staying on !! Reply Link Anonymous 25 October 2010 at 23:05 Lee Easton I salute you ! Reply Link EC4 26 October 2010 at 07:33 I have genuinely never heard of this Scottish firm. Let’s move on. Now. Reply Link Anonymous 26 October 2010 at 19:37 How pathetic that a partner feels he has to post positive comments (mcgrigorsarearubbishfirm post) Reply Link Anonymous 27 October 2010 at 12:37 EC4 Law outside London? Gosh, it must exist. Reply Link Anonymous 27 October 2010 at 14:59 Typical law firm. Partners all generally all v.good solicitors but have little skill in management or corporate strategy. McGrigors ego’s have got the better of them. L&B in Belfast died for the same reasons – partners ordering new £50k BMW’s on the same week redundancies were made! Reply Link habika 28 October 2010 at 04:04 I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with everyone. habika Conveyancing Solicitors Reply Link The story rumbles on.... 28 October 2010 at 10:20 I’m not surprised by the interest in this story or the Belfast focused stories. Things seem to be unravelling in Belfast. Maybe the stories that the L&B partners can’t work together aren’t too far off the mark. The hope that a new name above the door and new management would change things is obviously fading. Apparently the bookies have closed their book on odds for an exodus of partners in Belfast and a new L&B re-emerging from the ashes…. Reply Link Anonymous 28 October 2010 at 16:34 I’m in the NI legal market and this is hilarious, what a bunch of whinging muppets, I wasn’t aware law firms had trade unions. as for the hope that L&B will re-emerge, everyone in Belfast knows who the heavyweights/influencers in L&B were, I don’t see them complaining much or have i missed something Reply Link Anonymous 28 October 2010 at 16:54 class story but sadly largely created by losers. i liked the one about the bmw is that seriously true? i know some of the guys there like their cars, i dont think 50k would buy the bm i saw recently in the car pk though. Lets not talk them into starting up another law firm please there is little enough work Reply Link Anonymous 28 October 2010 at 17:15 Most of you ciritcs of anonymous are living in a dream world. I am not one of the people being made redundant but I know the score within the firm. To suggest that partners only bring in the work is incorrect and insulting. To suggest that they have ‘earned’ the right to be exempt is correct until you take into account that it is their mis-management that is causing other peolpe’s jobs. So morally exempty? No. Turnover and profit went up. People are only sacked because if thet are not then the partners won’t be able to replace last years Mercedes with this years model. And consultations? pah. Lip service you mean. These firms are run like any capatalist country. The rich get richer, the poor get stepped on. And I am NO socialist. Just a relaist. Reply Link Anonymous 28 October 2010 at 18:00 Here here to the above comment. Unfortunately it will take many many years for students to understand reality. Reply Link Talk of the City 28 October 2010 at 18:02 I work in Belfast and at every client meeting I had today, everyone (solictors on the other side and clients) were talking about this article and the responses. There are some great stories on here, some so ridiculous that they must be true! The question on everyone’s lips today was “what is going on at McGrigors”. It’s common knowledge in belfast that the partners have been in the high court once this year to try to stop one partner from jumping ship. Word now on the street is that the office is not a happy place to be and others partners are considering their positions. Reply Link Anonymous 28 October 2010 at 18:25 Anonymous @ 5.15 – With spelling and grammer like yours you deserve to be made redundant. In truth, there just isn’t enough work to go round all the qualified lawyers working in the UK at the moment. A law firm is like any other company selling a product. If demand for the product falls any sensible business will take steps to cut costs – unforunately for those made redundant the easiest way for mcgrigors to cut costs is to cut staff numbers. Reply Link Anonymous 28 October 2010 at 19:22 as an older generation in the profession is it just me or is it depressing that a few sore losers are allowed to start rumours and say what they like about frims on line, including L&B and McGrigors, who last time I checked were by a long way the dominant firm in NI, maybe some of you should take a leaf out of their book and sharpen up a bit – as for the rocket scientists in the firm complaining about usual business practices such as cost measures, grow up or go elsewhere although please dont apply to my firm I am now on notice of your opinions Reply Link Anonymous 29 October 2010 at 12:16 to anonymous at 7:22 A bit harsh I would say. Reading between the lines people are upset about ruined careers etc Personally, these days I don’t much care as I would rather be in an industry that has potential for growth and better wages etc. Let’s hope the Indians and the Chinese don’t ruin your business or you might start complaining yourself. ABS is just round the corner. Outsourcing and commoditisation of services may just finish you off. I hope you don’t mind a bit of age discrimination?? but that’s business right??? Reply Link IHateBPP 29 October 2010 at 13:19 Neither L&B or McGrigors have ever been the dominant forces in NI and if they were it wouldn’t be too hard as the vast majority of firms in NI are either conveyancing sausage factories or one man bands. Reply Link annon 29 October 2010 at 14:33 IHateBPP at 1.19 L&B probably were fairly dominant 20 years ago when they were all walking round with their quils and smoking jackets with no real competition. They lost that position when the competition increased. I agree that McGrigors were never dominant in NI. They never will be the way things are going for them. I wonder how the L&B partners now feel being part of a ruthless business which requires them to win new work and compete in the market. Welcome to the real world! Reply Link Who cares... 29 October 2010 at 14:50 …about some little scottish law firm trying play with the big boys and failing. This article is funny though….. http://www.scottishlegaljobs.com/news/richard-masters-is-looking-to-take-mcgrigors-to-the-top-of-the-london-tree-.html Reply Link Anonymous 29 October 2010 at 23:40 “He adds that McGrigors is well placed to avoid any further redundancies in the months ahead, as it prepares to move from its long-standing home in Glasgow’s Wellington Street to much-sought-after real estate space at 141 Bothwell Street.” !!! Reply Link Anonymous 1 November 2010 at 15:11 McGrigors are in this position because they have continued to spend money like water despite a large overdraft. One suspects the bank will be putting pressure on them to reduce it. To the people posting a slap on the wrists on here directed at the people complaining about this, bear in mind McGrigors, in Scotland anyway, have a traditionally v loyal workforce and lower than average staff turnover, but those same staff are now being made redundant to pay for the spending and to maintain PEP. You should have a little heart if they want to moan on here a bit and vent their frustration in a way less likely to cost them their job than any other. I am ex-McGs, long time there and senior role and I agree with the comment about things changing when they went in with Klegal, and not very much for the better. The current managing partner was very much involved in and in favour of that deal and has continued to view expansion as the only way forward for McGrigors. Until a fortnight ago. Reply Link Just Another Sweat Shop 1 November 2010 at 19:09 Just where is the legal profession going. Another firm that has expanded on the back of the sweat of good assistant solicitors on the basis ofjam tomorrow. I left the sweat shop mentality years ago and have never regretted it. M is not daft they are well aware ,amongst others, that the promise of jam tomorrow works for technically good lawyers but as green as grass. M will not be the last and on all accounts are no where as bad as some of the big Leeds sweat shops. The reality is Law is the modern day sweat shop.and nothing will change unless Lawyers start walking Reply Link Anonymous 2 November 2010 at 16:10 @Anonymous | 28-Oct-2010 6:25 pm Are you really in a position to comment on someone else’s grammar when you cannot even spell the word correctly yourself? Reply Link pointless..... 3 November 2010 at 19:48 …. little scottish firm whose opinions are not backed up by their ability. I feel sorry for any good young lawyers in the firm who are being promised the jam tomorrow but there is no jam today and not likely to be any jam for a while. They have been building themselves up as the next big national law firm in recent years which is why so many people are looking at the apparent disarray the firm is now in with a smug smile on their face…. Reply Link student 4 November 2010 at 16:24 No wonder my Edinburgh Uni law student pals who’ve applied for a 2012 traineeship at McGrigs haven’t heard back…. think I’ll be warning them not to expect a call anytime soon! Reply Link Anonymous 5 November 2010 at 16:43 Probably best that students leave the commenting to people who are not just feeding on whatever rumour somebody in their law class has decided to make up on that day. Considering the firm was one of the few not to defer their trainees, even during the big hit in 2008, there is absolutely no basis to suggest that the trainee intake will be affected this year. Reply Link Anonymous 12 November 2010 at 01:56 No, trainee intake will not be affected this year. Trainees much needed after the recent redundancies to help with basic tasks of sorting out post and archiving. Whilst the partners are swanning off on their away day, patting themselves on the back for saving their own skins, the firm ‘s transformation into a complete farce is almost complete. Yes, make the post guy redundant – its great getting our important letters and deliveries at 1pm instead of first thing in the morning. Archives department? Completely unmanned. Well done, lets hope there is no need to recover any client files currently sitting in a big container no one has a clue how to get to. McGrigors – we salute you Reply Link Anonymous 18 January 2011 at 11:53 Trainees are much needed yes, as cheap slave labour (trainee salaries in scotland are the worst in the UK) However they then ditched half of their loyal and hardworking trainees in August last year rather than taking them on as NQ’s. (After all but promising the majority would be retained). 2 for the price of one where trainees are concerned A Joke Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.