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King & Wood Mallesons notifies court of its intention to appoint administrators, again

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Delaying the inevitable

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Troubled international law firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has notified the courts of its intention to appoint administrators for a second time.

Delaying what many believe is an inevitable administration process, the firm made a second filing with the High Court this morning.

Back in December KWM revealed it had filed its first notice in order to “protect the firm from its creditors”. At the time, a spokesperson told Legal Cheek that the move would allow the firm “to maintain client service as it continues to explore all available options”.

It’s been a difficult past few weeks for KWM: earlier this month it emerged that the firm had stopped paying some of its staff. The UK and European arm of KWM — which is believed to be £30 million in debt — notified around 100 employees, including lawyers, of its decision not to pay them. KWM declined to comment on the report, but last week did deny a “decidedly not funny” claim that it had run out of toilet paper.

A glimmer of hope for the firm’s youngsters: Legal Cheek revealed before Christmas that a rescue plan had been devised to save the stricken giant’s 60 or so trainees. With a host of City firm’s offering to lend a much-needed hand — including magic circle duo Linklaters and Allen & Overy — a spokesperson for KWM told Legal Cheek:

The profession has responded fantastically well to this situation and we are currently in discussion with a large number of firms across the City with regard to our trainees in London.

UPDATE: Tuesday 10 January 2:44pm

An internal memo from KWM’s managing partner Tim Bednall has confirmed that the firm’s bank would no longer be approving salary payments.

The message — which was sent to all lawyers and support staff earlier today — revealed that Barclays had rejected fresh proposals put forward by the firm to ensure its employees still got paid. KWM declined to comment on the development.

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