KWM administrators launch investigation into European arm’s collapse

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But a final verdict is a ‘long way down the line’


The administrators of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) now defunct UK, European and Middle East (EUME) arm have confirmed that an investigation into the firm’s collapse is now underway.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon, a spokesperson for Quantuma — the Southampton-based restructuring specialist tasked with picking through the KWM wreckage — revealed that “an investigation into the law firm’s management and accounting practices is underway.”

Stressing that this type of enquiry was “typical with any insolvency”, the spokesperson said a “final verdict on KWM”, which formally entered into administration last month, was “a long way down the line”.

Late last year, with the firm’s EUME arm’s future looking uncertain, Legal Cheek revealed a secret rescue plan that would eventually see all of the KWM’s 60 or so stranded trainees being taken on elsewhere. Despite initial skepticism from some readers, we reported earlier this month that all the outfit’s former trainees had now secured alternative positions since having had their training contracts cancelled.

Firms stepping in to help out included Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper, Fieldfisher, Freshfields, Fried Frank, Goodwin Procter, Greenberg Traurig, Hogan Lovells, Holman Fenwick Willan, Macfarlanes, Osborne Clarke, Reed Smith, Stephenson Harwood and White & Case.

But KWM Global will continue to have a presence in the City. Just days after its EUME operation went under, KWM 2.0 — which is based near St Paul’s — trumpeted its arrival on the London legal scene. This is possible because China-led KWM Global has always been a separate legal entity to KWM EUME.

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