Linklaters extends restructuring with up to 70 partners facing the axe

Linklaters’ partnership restructuring is set to be more widespread than previously thought, with partners higher up the food chain now bracing themselves for a cull.

Simon Davies
Simon Davies

Sources close to Linklaters suggested that the firm is set to axe up to 70 partners, up on the figure of roughly 30 originally thought to be under the spotlight.

The cull is understood to be spreading to partners higher up the firm’s hierarchy.

A source said some “plainly very good partners” in the firm’s core areas were facing the axe, including in mainstream corporate.

The Lawyer has learnt further names of several partners who have been requested to exit the firm, mostly covering banking and finance.

The restructuring is also thought to have broadened to partners outside London, notably in capital markets, with managing partner Simon Davies understood to be travelling around the firm’s non-UK offices identifying partners less crucial to the business.

The restructuring was originally believed to be focused on the City operation (8 December 2011).

Germany is not understood to be affected, but Davies was in Frankfurt last week explaining the process to partners in the jurisdiction.

Davies is currently facing a poll to re-appoint him as global chief, but no partners are standing against him (12 January 2012).

There is understood to be concern among partners with management portfolios that a list of members set to be axed has not been circulated internally, making it tough to staff instructions.

Linklaters management is in ongoing discussions with partners, with the firm believed to be giving members time to find positions elsewhere.

The size of the latest cull would bring it closer to the level of the wholesale New World restructuring in 2009, in which 70 partners and 10 per cent of associates were axed (23 January 2009).

Magic circle rivals Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have all vowed not to carry out their own restructuring (9 December 2011), but A&O recently admitted that it has returned to managing its equity by removing between 1 and 3 per cent of partners per year (28 November 2011).