Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has axed as many as four associates in its real estate group, becoming the first magic circle firm to make redundancies.
A spokeswoman for the firm confirmed that “more than one, but fewer than five” associates had departed, but would not confirm the exact number.
Tim Jones, chairman of the London management group, said the redundancies were in response to the foundering property market, but became necessary after other measures had been exhausted.
Four real estate associates have been moved abroad, he said, while several others have been seconded to other departments within the firm.
Jones added: “The real estate market has been hit harder than any of our other business areas.
“We have been looking for other ways of re-deploying people but, after all of that, as a last resort we’ve had ended up in this position.”
The London real estate group now employs nine partners and 22 associates.
Jones concluded: “We will see where we are next year, but we think this puts us in the right position.”