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Updated ‘Our History’ page on KWM’s website glosses over administration woes

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It says the firm has “reduced its lawyer numbers in Europe”

KWM

King & Wood Mallesons Global (KWM) has given the “Our History” section of its website an update, and it glosses over last week’s administration.

The webpage now says that “the start of 2017 saw the firm reduce its lawyer numbers in Europe”, with no explanation as to why. Though the international giant’s UK, Europe & the Middle East (EUME) arm formally entered into administration on 17 January, the page reassures the site’s visitors that it will “maintain a strategic presence in the UK, Europe & the Middle East to service the needs of its global clients”.

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An interactive timeline at the bottom of the page — which again stresses that the firm will maintain its EUME presence — concedes that it will be operating on a “reduced platform”. Again there is no mention as to why. The firm is able to continue operating in this way because China-led KWM Global has always been a separate legal entity to KWM EUME. A spokesperson for KWM Global declined to comment.

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The new London outpost — which is based just a stone’s throw from St Paul’s Cathedral — will be made up of seven partners, all of who apparently come direct from KWM’s defunct EUME arm. Last week, a spokesperson for KWM told Legal Cheek that the new outfit would “not presently” be taking any trainees or future trainees from its obsolete EUME offices.

And as the firm’s global website undergoes a makeover, more reports emerge regarding the EUME arm’s administration woes.

Yesterday the Lawyer Magazine (£) suggested that KWM’s bank, Barclays, could “recoup less than 30% of its £35 million loan” to the firm. This would equate to an eye-watering debt write-off of as much as £25 million. Barclays declined to comment.

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The development comes just days after Legal Cheek acquired a series of emails that revealed an incredible bust-up between KWM partners. Quickly reaching the nationals (pictured above), the emails showed New York-based partner George Pinkham and Dubai-based partner Timothy Taylor QC clashing over who was to blame for the demise of the firm.

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12 Comments

Anonymous

So it KWM v.2 has gone from 7 partners in London the last LC article to now 30? And they can’t take on ANY of the trainees? Surely a firm of that size will need some trainees both now and in the future.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

this firm is just ridiculous in every way possible. even lord harley would turn up his nose at KWM’s management style

(4)(1)

Anonymous

True, US firms of a similar size partnership take between 4 – 8 trainees a year. These trainee numbers help with expansion however, so it might depend on KWM’s strategy in London – I imagine they’re being cautious with their business outlook at the moment. There are also some US outfits with similar size partnerships in London who survive on hiring paralegals and interns alone, so it is possible.

(3)(0)

The Konman

Would you actually join such a shop as a trainee though? After all that took place?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I imagine there’s enough people champing at the bit to start their career that yes they would take a trainee role if the alternative is continual struggle and shelf sitting

(2)(2)

Anonymous

Well what do you want them to say?
No business is going to put in its profile “KWM thoroughly cocked-up its initial strategy in UK & EUME and is desperately trying to preserve a vestige of its former presence there.”

(10)(0)

Care4lawyers

This is Francesca….

Oh no, wait, we went bust didn’t we?

Lolz!

(1)(0)

Not a KWM employee

What a ridiculous piece of non-news. Of course the firm has every right to sell KWM 2.0 as it wants. The market can make of it what it wants.

Hope Legal Cheek devotes as much reporting to how this SJB fracas has dragged the KWM brand in Asia through the mud.

(2)(1)

Anon

Agreed…Finally, they are letting the Chinese do what they do best and that is business. The English management were thoroughly incompetent.

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Not a KWM employee

I’m frankly surprised there’s not more blow back about this in the press. Anyone who can show me how external non-EUME factors caused this deserves a medal – looks so far to be a massive clusterf**k years in the making.

Whoever is in charge of KWM comms should be sitting partners down with the FT etc to shout this to the rooftops before the global brand is tarnished further.

(0)(0)

QSP Residual Recoveries LLP TC holder

The Aussies and Chinese ought to have known better. Surely their due diligence would’ve exposed just how woeful the financial of SJB were at the time of the merger?

(1)(0)

Not a KWM employee

I’m sure SJB did their best to obfuscate. In any case, there were repeated attempts by Verein management to force cost saving measures and to trim the partnership – all of which were resisted tooth and nail by the partners first to jump ship as soon as things went south.

Doesn’t exculpate the verein’s management though, I agree.

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