Big U.K. Firms Reassign Lawyers to Avoid Job Cuts
Posted Jan 24, 2008 12:08 PM CST
By Martha Neil
Major London law firms, including Allen & Overy, are redeploying their troops, affiliating those in slowing practice areas with busier groups.
"It is understood the firm hopes the move will help it avoid job cuts," writes Legal Week, referring to A&O's efforts, beginning late last year, to encourage lawyers and staff to broaden their expertise and switch to other practice areas, and even other offices, as needed. However, similar programs to integrate lawyers with specialized practices into a bigger circle of colleagues also are under way at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance, the article says.
At Freshfields, for instance, the new head of its London office, Tim Jones, is implementing a "London re-stack." It is intended to increase communication between different practice groups and departments by putting in closer proximity lawyers in related specialties. These meldings include: European litigation and antitrust; private equity, mergers and acquisitions and acquisition finance; and structured finance and debt capital markets.
At A&O, lawyers are being offered additional training and are being told that willingness to move will be regarded positively at review time, according to Legal Week.
“This drive is not just a reaction to changing market conditions," says David Morley, A&O's managing partner. "Being able to adapt and offer a range of skills in different practices and areas is part of a modern law firm.”