Shoosmiths axes 86 in restructure plans as turnover falls

Shoosmiths has announced that 86 jobs will go following a redundancy consultation.

The firm said in May that 93 roles were at risk as a result of the restructure of its consumer arm, mainly affecting the Basingstoke-based volume motor personal injury team (3 May 2012).

Following the consultation the firm said there would be 71 voluntary and 15 compulsory redundancies.

In a statement private client practice group head David Palmer said: “It is very regrettable that we had to make redundancies as part of the restructuring.

“This has been a difficult time, and those affected have conducted themselves with professionalism and dignity throughout the consultation process. We wish them well in the future.”

One former Shoosmiths solicitor said: “It is not that unusual, all firms are going through this and we are advising businesses which are streamlining – including law firms – all the time.

“Even where they are making a profit, firms are restructuring with a view to five or 10 years down the line.”

The redundancies are part of the firm’s strategy to move away from the high volume bulk processing work involved in personal injury cases. Instead Shoosmiths said it would focus on conveyancing, medical negligence, high-net-worth wills and probate, and complex serious injury and mixed liability litigation.

Palmer has previously stated that the “rebalancing” towards sustaining and growing its private client offering through service and expertise was a “key objective”.

The news comes as Shoosmiths ploughs ahead with its Scottish bolt-on of Edinburgh’s Archibald Campbell & Harley, which will give the firm a boost in real estate, retail, litigation and recoveries for lenders (21 June 2012).

Turnover at the firm fell for the second consecutive year from £87m to £84m. In 2009-10 the firm posted revenues of £90m. Net profit stood at £11.8m down from £14m putting the firm’s PEP at £295,000 down from £352,000.