Revealed: Clifford Chance redundancy details

Revealed: <a class=Clifford Chance redundancy details” />Clifford Chance is to appoint 13 employee representatives to aid communication with the 880 members of staff taking part in the firm’s redundancy consultation.

In an internal memo sent to staff and seen by The Lawyer, the firm’s HR director Helen Anthony told staff the representatives were being put in place to “represent your interests during the collective consultation process”.

Two representatives will be appointed for each of the firm’s six main practice areas, with an additional representative for paralegals.

As reported by last week, the firm has begun a redundancy consultation that will lead to 70 to 80 London lawyers losing their jobs (8 January).

In the memo the firm explains why the firm is having to make redundancies: “The volume of work coming into the office in many areas has reduced substantially in recent months, as it has for many of our competitors, and the nature of work has also changed significantly.

“This situation is expected to continue for some time to come. Therefore we must ensure that our business is in the right shape to adapt to the new economic realities and the changing shape of our clients’ businesses.”

The memo noted that, while workloads have fallen significantly, the firm still employs as many lawyers as it did during its busiest period – the first quarter of 2007-08. It added that voluntary attrition has fallen significantly.

Practice area representatives are due to be elected to their posts by 20 January, and the first collective consultation meeting will be held by the end of that week.

During the month-long consultation process London managing partner Jeremy Sandelson will meet with Anthony and the representatives to discuss issues such as the number of redundancies being made, selection criteria, timing and financial terms. The representatives will communicate the answers to the lawyers.

Between the end of February and early March, those identified as at risk will be consulted with individually and the resulting redundancies take place.