Help the aged

It’s hard enough being told you might lose your job as an established magic circle associate. But to be told you’re being replaced by trainees and newly qualified lawyers (NQs) is something else.

This is what Clifford Chance has intimated by highlighting the context of its 13-lawyer consultation round.

The proposed redundancies, it says, are down to a drop in the associate attrition rate, with a round of NQs and trainees about to come through.

Sceptics might say the firm is axing expensive associates and dishing out the work to cheaper fee-earners instead. The firm would say it’s making relatively small cuts to its associate headcount and it was a tough decision to make.

Perhaps it’s just a sign of the times, though. As we also report today, the Court of Appeal has ruled that it was okay for a Cumbria Primary Care Trust chief executive to be made redundant just before his 50th birthday so his employer could avoid giving him a large pension payout.

No one’s safe these days.

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