Categories:Scotland

McGrigors to cut 40 jobs in UK-wide redundancy round

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  • 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

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  • Anonymous, are you by any chance one of the 40 being made redundant?

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • Wonder if I'll be able to claim back my 2 weeks unpaid leave?

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  • "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...

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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  • Staff morale is at an all time low. Some huge mistakes made at management level and everyone else is picking up the pieces

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  • 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.

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  • McGrigors is a fantastic law firm to work for. business is business !

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  • What an untrustworthy bunch of gutless partners - everyone should jump ship

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  • The management are so focused on the top line that they have forgotten about the bottom one....

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • @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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • @ 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.

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  • "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.

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  • @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!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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....

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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?

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  • 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.

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  • "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."

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  • What was the criteria for "The Lawyer - Regional/National Firm of the Year"?

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  • "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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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...)

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  • Talking of Dickinson Dees, word on the street is that they're ordering in 30 new cardboard boxes for the end of this month.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Anonymous @ 6.21:
    "There are plenty of jobs available for lawyers".
    Are you having a laugh?

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  • 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.......???

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  • BAN FRUIT IN THE MORNINGS.
    Oh, they already did that. Start charging for water??

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  • Maybe they'll bring back the lunch vouchers!

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  • is it true that the are now making staff pay for their own kilts and private editions of braveheart?

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  • 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.!!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • What way is this firm being run? Redundancies yet they went to St Andrews for the partners conference all flash and no substance!

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