Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the only magic circle firm not to have announced a major redundancy consultation, is to launch an intensive two-week programme to reassure associates that they have a future with the firm.
From next week the firm will run up to 100 presentations led by senior management, business services staff and associates with the aim of encouraging people to broaden their individual practices.
London managing partner Tim Jones (pictured) said: “A lot of people feel that in this market we have to cross-fertilise all practice areas and make sure everyone is up to speed with our clients and what’s going on.
“Everyone is worried about what the world will look like and what London will look like. The driving force behind this is that one thing we do know is that our practices will be different and the skills people will need will be more varied.”
He added: “We’re seeing people working across practice areas already – we’ve got that in restructuring.”
Following the upsurge in restructuring work the firm identified groups of lawyers in other, less busy practice areas who could help bulk up numbers in the insolvency practice.
Jones added: “There’s an appetite to get skilled up and make more connections with different practice areas. Ultimately we want people to be as flexible as possible.”
While Freshfields laid off up to four real estate associates last year (19 September) it has not yet launched any formal redundancy consultations.
Earlier this month Clifford Chance announced that it would be laying off up to 80 lawyers in its London office (8 January) and Allen & Overy began redundancy talks with 10 lawyers in Hong Kong (16 January).