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DLA Piper has announced yet another round of job cuts, with nine per cent of its Middle East staff set for the chop (see story).
Regional managing partner Abdul Aziz Al-Yaqout said he “deeply regretted” the impact this will have on employees, but it all sounds strangely familiar.
When the last round of job cuts at the firm were made earlier this year (nine per cent that time too) then regional managing partner David Church also “regretted” the impact on his people (see story).
That was after eight per cent of staff had their user accounts shut down back in April of this year (see story).
Aware of the disruptive potential of successive rounds of redundancies employees will surely ask why bigger cuts weren’t made earlier on?
This, of course, cannot be looked at in isolation. Local markets have taken a hit of late with news of Dubai World seeking a debt standstill. Many firms are considering the long-term impact of the upheaval on their businesses.
But the fortunes of DLA Piper’s regional offices seem particularly intimately linked to those of its trophy client and Dubai World unit Nakheel - which is seeking to push back the redemption date on a $3.5bn bond due next Monday.
Just as the buildings developed by Nakheel shot up out of the desert (and sea) between 2006 and 2008, so did the number of lawyers in DLA Piper’s string of Gulf offices rocket into the sky - growing from 0 to 270 over the same period.
But as a result of the three rounds of job cuts, resignations and relocations the Middle East, offices will be 39 per cent lighter as compared with last year.