Law Firms

A&O to Ax Up to 250 Lawyers and 200 Staff, Freeze Pay, Ask Partners for Capital

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A top London-based international law firm has announced that, in response to unprecedented market conditions, it plans to cut up to 250 lawyers (including perhaps 47 partners) and 200 staffers; make “equity adjustments” concerning another 37 or so partners; and impose a pay freeze.

The Allen & Overy restructuring also involves a planned spin-off in May of the magic circle firm’s private client team to form a new firm which will be called Maurice Turnor Gardner, reports Bloomberg. Many of the attorneys being asked to leave the firm work in its London headquarters.

After the restructuring, which the London Times describes as “the largest yet by a law firm in response to the global financial crisis,” remaining partners will also be asked to contribute an average of 35,000 pounds each (about $50,000 in U.S. dollars), the newspaper says.

Bloomberg and the firm say the planned pay freeze will affect A&O staff; an Am Law Daily post reports that it will include associates, too.

The 47 partners to be eliminated represent 9 percent of the total partner roster at A&O, which is the United Kingdom’s fourth largest-law firm measured by revenue, Bloomberg notes.

“There is simply not enough work to keep all our people sufficiently busy and we do not see that changing in the near to medium term,” says managing partner Wim Dejonghe in a press release attached to the firm’s announcement of its restructuring plan.

Updated at 12:05 p.m. to include links to A&O materials and Am Law Daily post; revised at 1:20 p.m. to conform post with latest information reported by Bloomberg.

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