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King & Wood Mallesons notifies court of its ‘intention to appoint administrators’

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Just days after Legal Cheek revealed magic circle trio plans to scoop up KWM trainees

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Stricken international law firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has confirmed its “intention to appoint administrators”.

In a statement released in the past hour, KWM revealed that it has “filed a notice” with the relevant court to “protect the firm from its creditors”. This, the firm says, will allow “it to maintain client service as it continues to explore all available options”. Trying to remain upbeat, the spokesperson continued:

The firm’s management team and financial advisers continue to work to ensure the best possible outcome for clients and staff, and this move supports these efforts at a key point for the business. We have no further comment to make at this time but will issue further updates as appropriate.

Things have gone from bad to worse for the once well-respected firm this month. Last week it emerged that Dentons — one of the outfits that had initially expressed an interest in scooping up KWM’s European arm — had stepped away from discussions. With a deal to save the firm looking very unlikely, a number of KWM’s top partners have jumped ship in the past week, with six heading to DLA Piper, a further six to Greenberg Traurig and three to Macfarlanes.

Today’s news comes just days after Legal Cheek revealed that a plethora of City outfits, including magic circle trio Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Linklaters, had held advanced discussions about saving KWM’s 50 or so trainees. In addition to this, sources told Legal Cheek that the firm’s future trainees will have their applications fast-tracked and prioritised by these firms.

Legal Cheek understands the firms involved are unable to go public with their proposals until they are officially approached by KWM, which is likely to take place when it enters administration. With notice of KWM’s intention to do so filed today, it shouldn’t be long before plans to can finally be put into action.