Penningtons plans HQ move to cut costs

City and Home counties firm Penningtons is taking the knife to costs by quitting its headquarters building in London and giving staff a formal warning about the possibility of redundancies.

Penningtons has recently been hit by a string of high level resignations with eight partners giving notice before Easter this year (The Lawyer 9 April).

According to an internal memo circulated by the firm to staff in the London office, the departures “will have an impact on personnel requirements and the executive board has recommended that we should consider the reduction of staffing levels in the fee earning, secretarial and administrative sectors”.

The memo also discloses that Penningtons will be moving to different premises in London by the end of September 1996.

Penningtons' current London HQ at Dashwood House, Old Broad Street EC2, is one of the firm's largest overheads. It was badly damaged by an IRA bomb in 1993 and staff had to move out during repairs.

Managing partner David Stedman has repeated his earlier statement to The Lawyer (9 April) that the firm was undertaking a review of its entire cost base with the aim of increasing its profitability.

Penningtons also has offices in Basingstoke, Newbury and Godalming.

Resignations have rolled fast this year and include the departure of intellectual property expert Joe Cohen who left to join City firm Beveridge Ross & Prevezers. A number of partners from the Newbury office have left or are going, including Helen Goss, Christopher Chidley and Rupert Wright.

Wright is linking with Paul Milton, who also left Penningtons this year, to set up an advisory practice with IT specialist Marcus O'Leary, who operates out of Berkshire.

Last year, the firm's Bournemouth office partners broke away and relaunched as a separate practice under the name of Fynn & Partners.