Shadbolt leavers more than happy

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  • What about those who were made redundant or left in anticipation of the same and/or the possibility that Shadbolt could not compete with the big boys? These 'leavers' cannot be happy. Or were they pleased to leave ... ?

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  • Excited or delighted some people may be but there are many other people left wondering how this all came about - clients competitors and staff alike. Even to outsiders Shadbolt & Co (as fans still remember it) clearly had many loyal and hardworking staff who deserved a better outcome and so did its clients.
    This was never a merger (see earlier articles in The Lawyer) - nor a "rescue" (as you now call it) - it looks more like the splintering of a "fractious" (your word) group of partners who were unable to keep it together. “Not big enough, strong enough or well-known enough" is not the correct diagnosis - "divided and dysfunctional" looks like the real story.
    As its clients and even its competitors could see a lot of hard work went into building up from scratch a firm that was described as "the legal success story of the decade" and won the Queen's Award for International Trade. Its reputation and client service were second-to-none. Whatever happened inside the firm in the past couple of years that has led to its disintegration is a real indictment and the fragmentation of the know-how and experience is a real loss to the construction industry that it served so well.

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  • I can't believe that you have the guts to say that everyone within the shadbolts deal is happy. All the support staff have been made reundant, all because of Liz jenkins wanting to fill her pockets with cash.

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  • And the spin is even working on you - 8 out of 18 is not two thirds as you say. And there is no way that those 8 will boost Clyde and Co's revenue by £8m. And most of those who are joining Clyde and Co have little to do with the international side of S&C. Incidentally one of the emails sent out to existing clients telling them of the move is headed "good news from Shadbolt & Co". Spin to the very end.

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  • Those lawyers going over (clients have still not been told exactly who they are!) will be eaten up by Clydes and I presume will move away from the traditional 'niche' firm philosophy in exchange for a large national practice including higher hourly rates. Shadbolt's 'USP' will no longer exist.

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  • Shabolt's decline and fall is a story of ambition.
    Shadbolts always had ambitions to be something, as it now turns out, it could never be and that is a serious city player. This goes right back to the very earliest days when the great Dick Shadbolt founded the firm. Almost as soon as the disputes practice was on its feet the firm diversified into corporate, employment, property and even, at one stage, aviation law. Later, offices were opended in Hong Kong, Athens, Paris, Romania and Tanzania.
    All this ambition brought mixed success.
    More recently the practice was driven into the areas of projects and infrastructure which required lateral hires and much investment, again with limited success.
    The lesson in all of this is not so much that a firm should stick to what it is good at (in Shadbolt's case construction disputes) nor is it even to beware ambition- the lesson is to examine critically what motives lie behind that ambition. If it is genuine desire to make profit then that is good, but if you are driven by a desire to prove something or to make a statement then that is perhaps not so good.
    We'll never really know what motivated the Shadbolt's partners but we I think we could make an educated guess.

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  • Poor disfunctional management until the very end. Liz Jenkins doing an extremely poor job as Chairman. Awful Head of HR - invisible most of the time and zero people skills. Nearly all Reigate office support staff shafted.

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  • So, it's finally come to this. Dick Shadbolt appears to have been made to walk the plank (or did he turn his back on what he saw as a potentially mutinous crew? - there was never much explanation at the time), and now the Good Ship Shadbolt has been aimlessly drifting around for the last couple of years. Those 'in charge' have tried a few things to get back on course - re-branding, big offices in London, massive investment in PFI, ditching Reigate (it became the Gatwick office overnight - it was still in Reigate!) etc, etc. Rather unsurprisingly, none of those ridiculous schemes seem to have worked.
    Finally, HMS Projects & Mighty Ambition (as it was re-named) has been 'safely' steered onto the rocks, where it has foundered.
    A number of those 'clever' partners (one or two of whom appear to have been holding or squabling over the wheel of HMS Projects) have made it to shore unscathed.
    You can imagine the cries of "Abandon Ship - Woman and projects children first!", as the once proud ship broke up on rocks of selfish ambition. Of course, I say 'safely to shore unscathed', - what I mean is 'over a barrel and soon to be experiencing some of that EC3 'love''. They'll enjoy that!
    'What of the remainder of the crew?', I hear you ask. Well, it appears that most have had to fend for themselves. One or two (rather sensibly, as it turned out) wanted nothing to do with the rocks and jumped ship. They'll be fine, for the most part. The ones you really have to feel sorry for are the poor souls who have been made redundant through no fault of their own. One wonders whether their fate will weigh heavily on the minds of those that took charge of the once proud ship that Dick built. Given the recent quotes about how "happy" everyone is supposed to be about it all, I have my doubts. It is a very sad day, in my view - there is very little to be happy or pleased about.
    One also has to wonder what Shadbolts' clients are going to make of all this. It doesn't seem to have been handled very well at all.
    As for Dick, he will no doubt have mixed emotions. Immense sadness on the one hand, I'm sure. On the other, the satisfaction of knowing that he warned them this would happen. After all, history will record that he started a truly remarkable construction firm; one which prospered whilst he was in charge. History will also record how quickly things went wrong without him. For my part, all that I can say is that it was a pleasure to sail with him. Shadbolt & Co (RIP)

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  • It is a sad reflection on the way the legal 'profession' has gone that someone like Dick (or is that Clint?) Shadbolt can have his reputation and name sullied by people who were never fit to tie his shoelaces.

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