Ex-KWM partners asked to cough up money for lawyers and support staff suffering ‘undue hardship’

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By Katie King on

Too little too late?

Former partners from now defunct law firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) have been asked to contribute towards a hardship fund for ex-staff.

One month after the firm’s UK, European and Middle East (EUME) branch formally entered into administration, Tim Bednall — who used to be the outfit’s managing partner — has reportedly emailed “a number of former partners”.

Having said he was “very sorry” when he broke the news of the firm’s demise to its staff, Bednall has now asked top lawyers to donate cash to ex-workers suffering “undue hardship”.

Speaking to Legal Week (£) one former partner said:

Everyone’s been injured in some way. You could view it cynically but at least they’re doing something about it.

It seems the firm may be yet to bow out gracefully. At the beginning of this month, the administrators of the firm’s now non-existent EUME arm confirmed that an investigation into KWM’s collapse had been launched. A spokesperson for Quantuma — the Southampton-based restructuring specialist tasked with picking through the wreckage — revealed that “an investigation into the law firm’s management and accounting practices is underway”.

Now, it’s been revealed 288 former KWM EUME employees will be taking legal action over the firm’s demise. The ex-staff are understood to have instructed Surrey-based employment law firm Herrington Carmichael to challenge the way the redundancies were handled by the business.

For readers wondering what the hell went wrong for this once well-respected law firm, have a read of former partner Philip Goldenberg’s account of his time there.

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