Linklaters faces recession with staffing clampdown

The firm’s EU office in Brussels has seen more than 10 associates walk out of the door since January, while the Hong Kong office has made strategic partner-level cuts in intellectual property (IP).

Linklaters‘ Hong Kong head of IP Rebecca Lo has left to set up her own firm. Hong Kong managing partner Nick Rees said: “The change in focus in IP is to an integrated corporate support practice.” Lo’s client portfolio was varied, but much of it was low value work.

In April, The Lawyer reported that Linklaters was undergoing a shake-up in its IP department, which was followed by the departure of head of IP Anna Carboni. However, senior partner Anthony Cann denied that the IP practice was being refocused globally as a corporate support practice.

Hong Kong employment partner David Clark is also leaving the firm and will return to the UK. It is not known what he will do.

Linklaters’ Brussels office has also seen staff culls this year, as the M&A downturn has hit hard. Last Wednesday, the firm announced that 15 support staff were to lose their jobs. More than 10 competition associates have left since January, although a firm source claimed that only five or six of these had been managed out.

French competition partner Olivier D’Ormesson will transfer from Brussels to the firm’s Paris office, where the firm says he can better serve his clients.

Brussels partner Alec Burnside told The Lawyer: “We’re managing [staff] turnover in a more active way than is usually required. A firm that doesn’t manage its way sensibly through a recession will be in trouble.”