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

By 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.

For all the latest news, features, events and jobs, sign up to Legal Cheek’s weekly newsletter here.


Irwin Mitchell Trainee/Slave

I will definitely be keeping an eye on this… for a friend.



Seeing as no individual partner will think they did anything wrong, and the failure of the firm is down to all the other partners, I sincerely doubt that they’ll donate anything. And whilst KWM partners are pretty wealthy, very few people feel like they have money to spare.


Ex-KWM snowflake

Don’t forget a lot of the partners who were still there at the end hadn’t received drawings for quite some time and left KWM at a loss. I doubt they have the money to give…


Ex-KWM Partner

I don’t see how any of us are responsible for the lives of other people.

It’s the free market- businesses succeed or fail, as do their staff.

The staff have the opportunity to find other positions, and there’s the welfare state (which we’ve all paid into already) to fall back on if not.



Please tell me you’re the ‘see you next tuesday’ guy.



Like it or not, he’s right.


Ex-KWM snowflake

And this is why KWM failed… no firm culture, no understanding, no vision…



And that’s the reason your firm failed too many small minded idiots like you – glad to be shot of the place and working somewhere where people actually treat you like a human being



I honestly doubt you are an Ex-partner if you are on here commenting. If you are an ex-partner then you are sad.



Back in the mid 2000s / approx 10 years ago, I had a friend at school and her mum was a single parent after her father passed away when she was much younger.

Her mum worked for a comparable size firm as a senior executives assistant / like a PA /administration role on good pay doing a lot of work.

My friend got really sick she needed a special form of chemotherapy that the NHS would not fund for her because there was a cheaper, less effective alternative (it went to what they call a “NICE” panel, an acronym for a board that carries out treatment vs cost assessments and got rejected). The better chemo drug cost 2000 per treatment, every 6 weeks.

Her mum got laid off from the firm because of financial mismanagement and complacent attitudes at the top of the firm / partners. She had to work 3 jobs (during the week, night shift and day) to pay for the better drug, while my friend was cared for by her Nan.

— I hope, if there is anyone with similar circumstances at this firm, other partners will assist. I understand these are unique, and thankfully rare circumstances – and that if people can help, they would.



Just to add to what I wrote above, I hope the hardship fund is taken up by ex partners and that it is administered properly, so people with exceptional hardship /defined circumstances are looked after. (I.e. something more than just the uncertainty and inconvenience of having to look for a new job – something more, like funding medication for a limited time for dependants etc…. where this was previously done off the salary….


Stephen Hammond

A complaint has this day been made to me on behalf of the Wimbledon and Putney Conservators regarding the Wombles of Wimbledon and the discrimination thereof in this site. I have been asked to raise a question of this outrage in parliament.


Stephen Hammond

LC may attend from the public gallery. An early day motion shall be given in advance



Why ‘undue’ hardship? What’s not ‘undue’ hardship in this sorry affair?

Surely EVERYONE but the partners has been caused undue hardship – because they were *due* income for their continuing work in what should have been a properly managed firm.


Comments are closed.