BLP to cut 58 legal staff in massive salary reduction drive

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  • Sad news. Really feel for all those affected! I had hoped we'd seen the back of these large scale redundancies

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  • Are the partners going to take some hit in their PEP, then?

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  • Bilbo, the rumours are that PEP will be decimated this year and will probably end up at around 50% of last year's figure.

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  • First, partner draws cut/withheld, now this. Their policy of bringing in (supposedly) big hitting magic circle partners on big guarantees suggests they didnt deliver the goods. Cant fire them because still on guarantees. So hit the associates - nice! Wheels are coming off. All the hype, law firm of the year, etc etc. Perhaps the commenters/award dolers need to be more circumspect. Let's hope this isnt going the way of Dewey.

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  • Reducing costs and streamlining in preparation for anything perhaps?

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  • Bilbo, it really isn't in the culture of BLP for the partners to take a cut in PEP. The model is:

    1. Sweat the Associates when there is work;
    2. Complain that they aren't working hard enough when there isn't enough work;
    3. Fail to recognise that is their job to bring in the work.

    There are some SEPs sitting in departments who have bought in next to no work over a number of years and still complain the the associates are paid too much. These guys will probably survive the cull. Says it all really. Lovely firm.

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  • 14-May-2013 1:38 pm

    This is the major flaw is the "Field of Dreams" business plan as employed by BLP

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  • Word on the street is that there is more to follow.....

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  • BLP seems to have managed to defy gravity and to avoid negative press coverage for the last few years. I could never work out how or why.

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  • I suppose if they get rid of enough people they can rid of those other offices round the back and have everybody under one roof. Another cost saving. Next step virtual lawyers......hang on a minute haven't they tried this.....

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  • Some interesting and spot on comments. To add further comment

    BLP's problem is
    1. There are a few very good lawyers but lots of mediocre ones.
    2. The partners are generally speaking very poor managers.
    3. The firm is obsessed with being part of the magic circle or at least competing with those firms but fails to realise they never will be. They chase clients well beyond their reach and waste resources in their pursuit rather than concentrating on building other valuable relationships. The firm does not have the people, infrastructure or ability to compete with the magic circle.

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  • It all stems from having a managing partner who is too much of a partner and not enough of a manager......

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  • "The firm does not have the people, infrastructure or ability to compete with the magic circle."

    Except when it comes to redundancy rounds...this is getting on for Linklaters' "New World" levels of P45. Ouch.

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  • 1. There have already been lots pushed out by "stealth".
    2. There will be lots more going in addition to this declared round, both by stealth and in at least one more formal round.
    3. BLP is in a far more fragile position than many realise as a result of massive guaranteed payments to a large number of partners, and its very overweight position in real estate.
    If not very carefully managed this firm will be the next Cobbetts/Semple Fraser/Dewey & LeBeouf
    4. There is rightly little loyalty to the firm among associates due to the attitude it has consistently shown to its staff, very similar to namesake SJ Berwin. Those who can move will.

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  • Nice apologetic statement by Neville there. I like the human element that shows he cares about the employees who are going to lose their jobs.

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  • Is BLP planning on getting rid of the Magic Circle Partners they hired on huge guarantees? It is clear they have failed to deliver.

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  • Expensive laterals and poor morale are not BLP's only problems.

    BLP is a late starter to international expansion and as result has not yet gained the rewards of an international spread. Instead, it has to meet the costs of new ventures overseas out of a modest turnover and profit pool compared to the competition.

    One hard choice BLP now faces is, therefore, between cutting at home or continuing to invest overseas. Strategically, the latter seems the best long term option - possibly the only chance of salvation barring a miraculous upturn in the UK property market - but the BLP brand does not sell well internationally. The chances of BLP generating a decent return on investment overseas any time soon look poor. For those who survive the forthcoming cull, more hard times lie ahead.

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  • Anonymous | 15-May-2013 12:38 pm

    We're not going anywhere

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  • BLP also suffers from surprisingly poor utilisation rates across the board. Their overheads are not sustainable given these rates. I've met some very talented lawyers there, but most of them stem from the pre-merger days.

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  • I got out a few years ago, best thing i ever did.

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  • I also got out a couple of years ago and it was great to escape. Poor management with protection for the old tired "in" partners who happily extract their cash while doing very little revenue generation. They have been in love with hiring shiny people who are only rainmakers in their own heads and they have traditionally done very little DD on them. Those guarantees have diluted the cash perilously. Many of the partners have limited ability and polish. Really a small firm still - but one that has done a good PR job in selling them as something they are not.

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  • During the boom years when 95 percent of the partners that run city firms got made up (when you had to be little more than a lucky monkey riding the crest of an unsustainable wave) you didn't have to have any management or business skills whatsoever. It's hardly surprising therefore that the people running these "businesses" aren't displayaing any such aptitude and are now largely too old to learn any. At some point in time these old men will have to start eating one another, and that is the part that I really look forward to seeing.

    Culling swathes of associates depletes your ability to generate fees as it is the fee earners that actually "do" or should be doing the majority of the work. Ratios at some firms are getting ridiculous, it used to be 1:4 or 1:5 and now it is often down to 1:2 with the partners doing more work themselves. These either have to (a) do all of the work themselves (ending up with a 1:1 ratio) or (b) start eating each other, to make the next appreciable step in their financial "evolution", and it will be funny as hell to witness when they wake up to that. A lot of these "top" firms may not be around for as long as they think....

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  • The senior management cannot manage at all. Far too many of the Partners are seriously under performing but yet they turn a blind eye and still expect Associates to work themselves into the ground for no pay rise or bonus. Last year they rolled out a pathetic bonus scheme only to move the goal posts and not pay out. Now redundancies! Others firms must be waiting to snap up the talented lawyers who are bound to leave on mass.

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  • I have no connection to BLP, but I have to say that they are going to have a hell of a time recruiting anyone for their London office who reads these comments. Just brutal!

    In a strange way it is comforting that such a firm still exists, doesn't set the bar too high for the rest of us.

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  • I'd just like to thank BLP's HR team for not offering me a training contract. Oh, and a big belated shout out to Dewey Leboeuf as well...

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  • The thing is, as some of you lot have already touched upon, BLP has been desperate to join the hallowed inner sanctum that is magic circle.
    They've hired some so called "heavy hittters" over the past 5-6 years but in reality a good few of these only carry magic circle names as weight. They're actually not that good. This is specifically directed at RE and Corp. Tax areas, which BLP are obese in. It's like a battleship sinking under the weight of its own guns - trouble is, the guns never worked.
    So what did they inherit? Ego. And ego in abundance. Ex. 'circle partners who have a point to prove. Bit tragic really as, ultimately, it's the good (and there is some) who suffer at BLP.
    Sift out the dead wood (some SEP's in RE would be a good start - there's a couple of women I can think of (no, this is not a sexist remark, anyone who knows will know!) and for christ's sake ditch this stupid obsession with Susskind!!!! I am sorry, to take the beliefs and ideals of someone whom has NEVER practiced and worked commercially is, frankly, bonkers. There's a midget "Canary Dwarf" in RE whom seems to have the most terrific erection for this man. Watch out and be warned!!

    Seriously though, BLP was once a great place to work and a greta firm to work for - sadly that was about 5-6 years' ago....

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  • not a nice place to work, and too many underperforming "heavy hitters". This year will be extremely bad for BLP.

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  • BLP have already shed, earlier this year, the 15 or so internal Lawyers on Demand working within the firm alongside the Associates who weren't employees and could be got rid of without having to pay redundancy money or hold consultation periods or make any announcements -as these lawyers were self employed.

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  • redundencies, outsourcing , no pay rises no bonuses moral at a all time low, life at BLP
    But on the upside there ARE JOBS A PLENTY in HR. When handing in notice Directors response was "dont blame you, i will get my sec to type resignation letter for you" .Never realised how bad it was until i left.

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