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Reed Smith cuts London lawyer roles in wake of pandemic

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13 associates and six support staff redundant following review

Reed Smith’s London office

Reed Smith has cut 19 roles in its London office following a redundancy consultation.

The US outfit confirmed thirteen lawyers and six support staff had been made redundant as part of a series of belt-tightening measures in response to the pandemic. Eight of the redundancies were voluntary.

“Like all well-run businesses, during the normal course of managing the firm we continually evaluate the size and shape of our global organisation to ensure that it matches the needs of our clients,” a spokesperson for Reed Smith said. “Their requirements have evolved as a result of the pandemic and unfortunately this has led to a small number of redundancies.”

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As reported by Legal Cheek, Reed Smith announced in June it was “initiating a targeted redundancy process that will impact a small number of lawyers and staff” in London, the firm’s largest office with over 350 lawyers. It also cut pay for professional staff earning more than $100,000 (£80,000) and temporarily furloughed a “small number” of employees.

Earlier this month, BLM announced is was closing two of its offices, Leeds and Bristol, with lawyers and staff working remotely on a permanent basis. It also confirmed it was entering a redundancy consultation which is expected to affect 89 roles within its legal support and corporate services teams.

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21 Comments

Isaac

“Like all well run businesses”… clearly not

(48)(4)

Anon

Exactly, it’s insulting for them to insinuate these cuts are a sign of them being a good business. No, it means you can’t even get enough work in the door to utilise the staff you hired.

(33)(2)

A

When did we start saying “utilise” all the time?

(0)(4)

RJ

Kirkland is also making cuts. At least, Reed Smith has the decency of calling them by the correct name and is honest about it.

(3)(0)

Joe

Unlucky for those current and future trainees at Reed Smith. What sort of message does this send them

(31)(3)

Anonymous

Work harder, put in more hours and expect to be paid less. It is like 2008 but more so. Breeds a better product of employee at the other end, sorting out the wheat from the tik tok loving chaff.

(9)(13)

Mous

Not really, unlike 2008 pretty much no other firm is cutting lawyers.

(37)(3)

Anonn

Why Reed Smith? Their practice area is hardly uniquely exposed.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Yet, darling. Yet.

(0)(2)

Remove your blindfold

“Pretty much no other firm is cutting lawyers “. You’re kidding, right? So many firms have been busily slashing jobs (not just support staff) over the summer. <20 redundancies in any given three-month period means no consultation and can therefore be done under the table. It baffles me that people don’t believe this is happening, because it most certainly is!

(3)(0)

Future train aye

Shoes that they are not able to survive – rather than reduce partners bonuses and etc, they choose these people. Horrible approach

(6)(4)

gggg

They already took the scissors to partner, counsel and associate pay before doing this.

(0)(0)

Dan

Disgraceful. In light of this I would have huge reservations about working there.

(20)(5)

Top boi

Its Reed Shet, what did you expect lmao

(11)(3)

This is just normal...

I’m an employment lawyer and so obviously know a fair bit about redundancies, and also observe when and where they happen.

To all those appearing shocked, this isn’t unusual and Reed Smith isn’t really that different to many other businesses, including law firms.

These things happen all the time, in good times and in bad. You don’t fund a unprofitable role just because the money to employ them could be sourced elsewhere within the business to avoid the redundancy. There’s also no need to announce redundancies (especially easy where there’s below 20), so just because Reed Smith has announced these there’s doesn’t mean it isn’t going on at other firms every year – even yours. You just won’t know about it. Lots of firms that have a bumper year in any given year have still ‘restructured’ certain teams on the down low.

(17)(3)

CMS

Top white shoe firm.

(1)(0)

RS NQ

CMS is a top bronze medallion megafirm

(5)(0)

do you know me?

What’s the pensions practice like?

(0)(0)

Nige

You’d have to feel hugely sympathetic to the people affected given the state of the economy although there do seem to be roles out there.

Has there been any indication of what practice groups are affected?

(1)(0)

loki

Bit scattered but mostly real estate from what I heard.

(0)(0)

:O

I honestly don’t understand is the LC community just 1st/2nd years? I see comments above with 15-30 likes saying that it is incredible how Reed Smith did that, when literally every firm at the moment is doing the same thing under the table… Recently an article on a serious legal website was explaining how recently ALMOST EVERY law firm has employed this exact tactic). Didn’t see anyone though commenting on Reed Smith retaining NQs at £90k with bonuses up to £120k. On the other hand I see everyone praising Dechert for its 3% raise (which is the US equivalent of HSF for work quality) and at the same time the berating of MC firms because they dropped to £80k-£85k (except for lovely Freshfields of course) whilst maintaining incredibly high retention rates… I am just in awe of how blind and impressionable people are in here; seriously 0 critical thinking

(16)(0)

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