Linklaters: 270 London jobs to go

Linklaters has confirmed that between 100 and 120 of its City lawyers will lose their jobs, while 130 to 150 members of business services staff will also be affected.

<a class=Linklaters: 270 London jobs to go” />Linklaters: 270 London jobs to goMagic circle firm Linklaters has confirmed that between 100 and 120 of its City lawyers will lose their jobs as part of its so-called New World strategy, while 130 to 150 members of business services staff will also be affected.

As exclusively revealed by last week the firm is seeking to drastically overhaul its structure in a bid to become a smaller, more profitable operation (23 January).

At this stage it is unclear how the firm’s international network will be affected, with the redundancy announcement relating solely to London-based staff. All London staff are currently in redundancy consultation with the process due to complete in three months.

The London cuts will translate to 4.8 per cent of the firm’s total workforce while 4.2 per cent of its lawyer headcount will be slashed, based on figures published in The Lawyer UK 200, 2008.

Managing partner Simon Davies (pictured) said: “This is an action that we have taken very reluctantly and after a great deal of thought.”

He added: “The overall vision and strategy of the firm has not changed, the context in which we are working has changed. There has been a huge deterioration in financial markets and that’s inevitably having an impact on our clients. We have to respond to that.”

While the announcement of the London redundancies was communicated to staff via an email, Davies said he would be travelling round the firm’s network in the coming weeks to answer employees’ concerns.

He added: “As with any global organisation we have a management structure with regional and national managing partners and they will be allaying people’s concerns until then.”

While Davies confirmed that no trainees will lose their jobs as part of the redundancy consultation, he would not confirm whether the number of people being offered training contracts in the future would be affected. The firm takes around 130 trainees each year.

Davies said that, while the redundancy consultation is related to the New World project, details of the wider strategic shake-up are still being finalised.

Davies is working alongside senior partner David Cheyne and the firm’s executive committee on the project, which should be drawn up within the next couple of months. It is understood that the project will result in the firm’s operations in Western Europe being significantly cut back.

Last year the firm axed its offices in Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest and Prague with a number of Linklaters partners, led by former Central and Eastern Europe head Jason Mogg, forming independent firm Kinstellar (27 May). The new firm has a close referral relationship with Linklaters.

News of Linklaters’ job cuts came after fellow magic circle firm Clifford Chance announced that it is to shed up to 80 lawyers in London (8 January).

Allen & Overy has also announced cutbacks, with up to 10 lawyers in Hong Kong under threat of redundancy (16 January).

For more on this story, see the Freshfields-Linklaters arms race and the leader.

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