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Blake Lapthorn, Clarke Willmott and Cobbetts have reduced the number of staff they are making redundant by a total of 26 through a combination of redeployments and client secondments.
South East firm Blake Lapthorn launched a consultation with 43 members of staff in October, but has reduced the final number of redundancies by 10 after redeploying staff to alternative departments, sending them on secondment to clients and introducing job sharing.
Clarke Willmott launched a consultation at the end of October with 40 members of staff, of whom 31 (22 fee-earners and nine support staff) have ultimately lost their jobs.
Of these, seven cuts were made in Birmingham, six in Bristol, eight in Southampton and 10 in the Taunton office. The bulk of job losses affected the property practice and commercial services divisions.
Cobbetts has made 56 redundancies after two recent redundancy reviews. Twenty-nine of these were fee-earners and 27 were support staff.
A Cobbetts spokesperson said: “The losses were across most teams, with real estate, unsurprisingly, in there too. All were offered ;outplacement services.” Added to the six job losses made in September in the first redundancy consultation, the total number of redundancies at the firm now stands at 62.
Meanwhile, the decision to retrain 30 banking, corporate and real estate lawyers in restructuring work has not prevented Cobbetts’ Leeds-based rival Walker Morris from making eight redundancies.
Chairman Peter Smart told The Lawyer: “We make adjustments to the headcount all the time. We have reduced the headcount in property by three fee-earners and five secretaries. That would normally be dealt with by natural staff turnover and no one would raise an eyebrow. In the current market there’s less natural turnover and more formal ;measures ;are required to effect the adjustment.”
He added: “We will not overreact to the present circumstances and make major redundancies just to prop up today’s profits at the expense of long-term substantial, sustainable profitability.”
Some 48 members of staff face the chop at fellow North of England firm Halliwells. Thirty-eight people have lost their jobs already following two consultations, and a further 10 banking and corporate fee-earners have their jobs on the line as of last month.
The firm did not return telephone calls or emails to confirm the final outcome of the most recent review.