The troubled PI firm enters period of “consultation”
Aussie-listed Slater & Gordon (S&G) is remaining tight-lipped over the futures of its trainee lawyers, in the wake of financial losses amounting to a staggering £493m.
The personal injury giant, with 27 offices across the UK, has been offering training contracts and legal apprenticeships on a rolling basis, equating to an intake of around 15 annually.
With the outfit confirming that there would be a “reorganisation” of its UK businesses, Legal Cheek was keen to find out how this would affect the firm’s trainee cohort.
Remaining tight-lipped, an S&G spokesman was not prepared to confirm if trainees currently completing their training contracts at the firm would keep their jobs or not.
Failing to even confirm the number of trainees currently at the outfit, he told Legal Cheek:
We are not providing a number in relation to any staff who may be impacted by our proposals to reorganise our UK businesses.
Keen to stress that nothing has been set in stone, the spokesperson continued:
It’s important to note that we are entering into a process of consultation so no final decisions have been made. Our proposed changes are all subject to consultation with the relevant staff.
However it would appear graduate recruitment at the firm has already been put on hold, at least according to S&G’s website. Those looking to apply to the firm are greeted with a message that reads future trainees “are not being sought at present”.
Back in January the Law Society’s Gazette confirmed that the firm’s management had held discussions over the closure of S&G’s Derby and Failsworth offices. If given the green light, it would result in 51 fee-earners and support staff losing their jobs.
The massive losses sustained by the firm occurred during the second half of the 2015 financial year, with the majority being attributed to S&G’s £680m acquisition of Quindell’s legal services division.
The firm — that first floated on the Australian stock exchange back in 2007 — saw its share price plummet to less than A$1 (48p) from a A$6 (£2.87) summer high, back in November 2015, as George Osborne gave his autumn statement at Westminster.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed a ban on general damages for minor injuries — such as whiplash — and suggested a new small claims limit of £5,000 on all personal injury matters.
With 75% of S&G’s work personal injury related, the firm moved to reassure its investors, claiming that while the announcement was unexpected, the firm was positioned “well to deal with the potential impact”.
Despite the positive message trumpeted by the firm at the time, S&G quickly downgraded its profit forecasts, citing “lower than expected” results across several of its UK outposts.
Slater & Gordon’s stock price plummets by over 50% as George Osborne aims to end compensation culture [Legal Cheek]