Hill Dickinson puts jobs at risk amid firm-wide business review

Liverpool firm Hill Dickinson is kicking off a business review that could lead to job cuts in a move blamed on the tough economic climate.

Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson

The firm confirmed it would be reviewing its range of services and geographical reach and that a “limited number of teams” faced a restructuring that could cost jobs.

It also said its revenue for 2012/13 was expected to be flat on last year at £110m or slightly up on the 2011/12 figure, which at the time represented a 10 per cent increase on the previous year (13 June 2012).

One of the subjects of the review is whether the firm requires three offices in the north west, with the outfit currently operating out of Manchester, Liverpool and Chester.

The firm’s other UK offices are in London and Sheffield, with the latter location added to its list of bases in 2010 when it launched in the city by acquiring failed firm Halliwells’ office at the same time as hiring 19 partners from its Liverpool outpost (21 July 2010).

However, major cuts or closures in London or Sheffield are unlikely as both bases have received significant investment recently in the shape of new premises in both locations and a 30-strong team recruited from DLA Piper in Sheffield (28 January 2013).

The review will begin at the start of the new financial year on 1 May, with all parts of the business under scrutiny including partners, employed lawyers and support staff. No staff have been placed on consultation yet. The firm declined to comment on how many redundancies were likely but managing partner Peter Jackson said it was aiming to resort to redeployment to other offices where possible.

Hill Dickinson is hoping to complete the review by the end of the first quarter of the 2013/14 financial year. No outside consultants have been hired.

Other options under consideration include expanding its use of outsourcing beyond the IT training functions it currently offloads to Redtray Solutions.

Senior partner David Wareing highlighted “pressures of the continuing economic climate”, adding in a statement: “It is vital that through this review we also ensure appropriate profit levels are maintained, to facilitate our ability to further invest in the business for the future.

“In the recent past we have been involved in acquisitions which have secured jobs particularly in Liverpool and Sheffield and security of employment will remain a priority wherever possible. Redeployment of staff in order to properly reflect client needs will be fully explored. The outcome of any review will ensure we maintain our status as a market leading provider of legal services.

“We will engage in a professional consultation process with all those involved and ensure that the proposed changes support our longer term strategy and continued ability to compete.”