Clifford Chance‘s management has underlined its war on costs with a dramatic reduction in non-fee-earning staff.
The magic circle firm has axed 300 business support jobs in one year and a total of 700 over three years, with the trend set to continue into 2006-07.
The dent in headcount, which was revealed at the Clifford Chance partnership retreat last week, has underpinned the firm’s decision to let out two floors at its Canary Wharf headquarters, potentially saving it another £2m a year.
One partner said of the staff reduction: “A lot of it’s unreplaced attrition.”
Another partner said: “We didn’t notice any of them had gone, really.”
In a separate move, Clifford Chance’s US management has applied for, and been granted, the third ladder of the new equity structure, which passed a partner vote at the end of last year.
This will allow the local management to nominate partners for extra points above the current plateau level of 100. Individuals may be nominated to receive either 125 or 150, reviewable after three years.