Upcoming cuts in public spending have led to Bevan Brittan announcing a third round of redundancy talks, the firm has confirmed.
The firm said 26 roles were being considered as part of a consultancy with the number evenly split between personal assistants and fee earners. The news was first reported on legal website RollonFriday.
In a statement released by the firm chief executive Andrew Manning said: “The public sector is a key market for us and with the Government’s target to reduce budgets and close projects – such as Building Schools for the Future – we’re forced to face the reality and take this difficult decision.
“We don’t want to be in a position where we need to make knee-jerk decisions and we believe acting now will allow us to maintain our strength and, at the appropriate time, to invest in the areas of the business that will secure our long-term future.”
In May 2008, the firm was among the first to announce redundancies after putting in place a three-year strategy to bolster profitability (13 May 2008). This came after net profit fell from £9.6m to £6.1m during the 2007-08 financial year.
The second round of redundancies came in September 2009, after profitability fell by 1.6 per cent to £6m (10 September 2009).
Net profit remained stagnant at £6m for the 2009-10 year, but average profit per equity partner (PEP) for the firm’s 21 equity partners increased by 29.7 per cent from £222,000 to £288,000. That said the number of equity partners had fallen from 27 a year earlier (The Lawyer UK 200 2010).
Nevertheless, with the firm’s exposure to public law Manning said further cutbacks are necessary.
He commented: “Bevan Brittan has had a strong financial performance in 2009-10 with profits up despite a small decline in like for like turnover.
“The business has made an impressive comeback over the last three years and will continue to invest in its core public services markets of local government, health, social housing and the private sector serving these markets.”