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Addleshaw Goddard cuts 19 lawyer roles following consultation

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Redundancies in real estate team

Addleshaw Goddard’s London office

Addleshaw Goddard has cut 19 lawyer roles across its UK offices following a redundancy consultation.

The outfit confirmed it had made 19 redundancies within its real estate team, with a further three team members “redeployed” into other practice areas.

Addleshaws launched a redundancy consultation in September, with 22 real estate lawyers told their jobs were at risk.

Speaking at the time, John Joyce, managing partner, said: “[O]ur real estate team has grown over the last five years to match demand which has now reduced in some areas and after much thought we now recognise that we need to make changes given the limited prospects of imminent recovery.”

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Confirming the cuts today, a firm spokesperson said:

“We can confirm that 19 individuals have been made redundant and three colleagues have redeployed into other teams. We know that this has been a very difficult and uncertain period for many of the team and these decisions have been reached only after the most careful and thorough consideration.”

Other firms to make job cuts in recent months include Reed Smith, Irwin Mitchell and Fieldfisher. Dentons, meanwhile, announced its own redundancy consolation last month, which could affect up to 24 lawyers across its UK offices.

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30 Comments

Anon

Out of interest, what would have actually dropped-off in the real estate world to necessitate this? A lot of what juniors do in mid-market firm RE teams is asset management churn – has the marquee acquisition/development pipeline stalled?

(1)(3)

Property guy

Granting of leases and renewals and sales and acquisitions have dropped off in commercial real estate for obvious reasons. I expect those affected do this type of work. By contrast if you’re in prop lit this is not likely to be a quiet time for you.

(5)(0)

MC Partner

wouldn’t expect less from such a sub par firm

(49)(15)

Anon

Quite. AG is achingly provincial.

(33)(8)

Ed

People practise in the provinces because they are not good enough to be in London. Everyone finds their level.

(31)(11)

Anon

Indeed. My level is home ownership and occasionally seeing my wife.

(5)(0)

anon

@MC Partner – I’d much rather work decent hours for competitive pay at AG than sacrifice my life/soul/mental health/relationships for below market pay in the Magic Circle.

To be honest I wouldn’t even make such a sacrifice at a US firm, where at least they provide an (arguably) justifiable salary in exchange for the terrible and bizarre lifestyle on offer.

(26)(44)

FlourPour

Don’t know why you’re getting so heavily downvoted. I have worked at a big city firm and somewhere achingly provincial and much prefer the latter. MC kids will mock an AG lawyer for earning less but they’ll be laughing from the office/their bedroom on zoom.

No amount of money is worth constantly cancelling on friends for work, losing those friends and finding new friends in the office evening canteen staff.

I don’t know how much AG pay their associates but for me, taking home 20-30k less per year but knowing I would be home to cook dinner with my partner every night or be able to meet friends who have the fortune of working 9-5 somewhere interesting (and would pretty much never have to work on the weekend) was a trade off worth making.

In your twenties (or in uni) it kind of matters where you work because it defines you and people actually care but when you hit your 30s everyone already knows you’re lame and whether it’s CC or AG makes no difference at all to the people who matter. Silver and Magic circle are all vanity. You’re right about US firms and anyone selling their soul for less is a fool.

(66)(99)

reality check

Yeah, I was thinking the same – why so many thumbs down? I know for a fact it’s not from people working at MCs cause they wouldn’t have a second to spare to get on LegalCheek and would get into bother being seen not working at all hours of the night. But honestly, I think people seriously forget that big company names do not equal good practices or good knowledge. I have a friend who was “lucky enough” to get his TC in an MC firm. Guess what – 3 weeks from him starting his TC we stopped meeting up, another month later he wouldn’t even have the time or energy to tell me if he was alive. The next time I (and his own family) actually saw the guy was for a couple of days when he came back to celebrate qualifying. He’s been with that firm for 4 years now, yes he gets a fair whack of money each year but he gives half of it in tax. Yes, he has a big MC name in his CV, but from what I’ve heard he’s now so overburned and exhausted he doesn’t think he’ll continue with the profession. Yes, he has all the newest tech and can afford some impressive suits to impress all kinds of clients and ladies around, but he has no time for personal relationships and has aged beyond imagination. Guy’s barely 30 but he looks 40 odd and not the “good 40” so to speak.. I could go on listing things how this firm is destroying him and his life, but why would I? All the wannabe solicitors/barristers over here would not believe a single word anyway. Point is – these big names, big firms, they may pay you a wage that you think is amazing (probably only because you’ve never earned that much before), but once you get to see the real life and the real practice, you soon realise no amount of money is worth what’s being taken away from you. Overburning and complete physical and mental exhaustion is a real issue in this profession and a real threat if you end up with the wrong employer. Unfortunately, there aren’t many firms that truly look after their own people. You really need to be strict about what you’re willing to give in order to climb that career ladder and think hard whether it’s ever worth it. I saw countless firm partners that either never got married, never had the time to have children, or are divorced (or have serious marital issues) cause their spouses couldn’t handle a non-existent party in the relationship. All of those types were miserable bast*rds that hated their own life and took their frustration out on everyone else each day. Trust me, when you work in that kind of environment, one you cannot escape from – no amount of money will be enough to make it “worthwhile”.

(52)(46)

US

The mantra of a loser

(34)(20)

Whomst

Thx for the comment fresher. Back to your Zoom lecture on Admin Law you go.

(7)(14)

FlourPour

I like the idea of wage slaving for a few millionaires being “winning”. The partners and their clients are the winners – how do you think they perceive trainees and associates responding to emails until 3am every night?

Do they think you’re a winner or a sucker? I reckon it’s the latter so I left.

(23)(21)

US

You can be earning around 140k in your twenties. It’s not surprising that you have to work hard. You’re not a loser just because people far older and more experienced are earning more than you on a deal.

(6)(1)

AG slave

Ummmmmmmm hate to break it to you but you’ll find nothing of the sort at AG. Terrible hours, below par pay, no soul, declining mental health. Go to the MC where you can get all of that for slightly more!!

(28)(3)

Normal person

All the best to those being made redundant at such a horrible time of year and in such uncertain times. These things can happen to anyone. There is so much luck involved in a legal career – right trainee seats, right mentors, firm performing well at times you need it to, partnership prospects and rivals appearing/disappearing at the right points, health (mental and physical) holding out throughout the process of working your way up. It works out in the end though

(40)(1)

FlourPour

It’s very depressing really. I didn’t get the seats I wanted and was lumped into banking and you realise that your fate is beyond your control.

Most of the people that end up in real estate are there as a safe and easy option because they didn’t get what they wanted or they found that what they thought they wanted was crap (corporate/PE).

(15)(0)

what a sham

Yeah… that’s basically all we can do – hope for a better tomorrow that’s not going to come for months. The sad part is that no firm ever thinks about its juniors as human beings, it’s so easy for them to just get rid of everyone rather than redistribute people to other departments. Of course, Covid was an easy way to get rid of those underperformers, but firms should ask themselves – have you done enough to ensure your juniors had an opportunity to shine? Feels like lately, the legal profession is becoming a short-term career for law graduates. You get into a firm that promises you the world and an amazing career, you get in and see it was a complete lie, and the first opportunity they get – you’re out. Social media is amazing, especially when these same firms that destroyed the lives and careers of their juniors brag about growth and increased partner remunerations… You may get into bother if you lie on your CV to get a job, but it’s ok for these firms to lie about the kind of roles and prospects they’re offering you. The legal profession is going to die if this doesn’t change, yes there will always be law students, but who wants to stay in a profession that takes your life and your mental health away for a wage that’s pyrrhic?

(28)(0)

Michael

Agree completely. I think a lot of firms have used the pandemic as an excuse to get rid of people but as you say – did they really give those people a chance to succeed? In my experience, law firms have a tendency to decide very early who is good or bad – they say its fine to make mistakes, but those will be held over you and future opportunities for good work assignments will be held back from you. Or you’ll be left doing mindless, repetitive tasks that don’t build meaningful skills. Or you’ll be so overworked and overstretched that its impossible to produce decent work, and you’ll be punished for that too. It does feel like a short term option as a career because the opportunities are so limited and firms are so happy to throw juniors aside the second its convenient.

(7)(0)

FlourPour

AG were hiring loads just before the pandemic. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of those shovelled out are relatively new hires.

(4)(0)

P Mason

AG have just lost a significant client and are on the brink of losing others. Would be nice to see the partners take responsibility rather than blaming Brexit

(12)(2)

an0n

AG has*

(0)(4)

Forever Associate

There’s a popular term in the investment banking world – “exit opportunities”. Graduate recruitment is dominated by it. Which IB firm will provide the best exit opportunity. Is this the future of law recruitment? I know the exit wasn’t chosen by those made redundant in this article, but as LC has a large grad rec focus I’m surprised they haven’t talked about this more already.

I was talking to a significantly senior lawyer about this. He mentioned when he was going through the process it was absolutely imperative to have a fair bit of faith in the firm you accepted a TC offer from, as that was the firm you’d likely be with through thick and thin all the way to retirement. This was a time when there was significantly less competition for TCs and you were automatically offered partnership at 5PQE unless you were consistently negligent. As recruitment became more competitive and the time barrier to partnership grew and grew, as well as a diminished appetite to offer equity share (there was no “salary partners” in the firm when he got upped), it became standard to think “well this firm will give me a really good start but I probably won’t stay here forever”.

Now, I overhear vac scheme participants and law fair students muttering about how they have no interest in being a private practice solicitor, at my firm or otherwise, but rather want to either go in house at one of our clients or transition out of law practice all together, often right on qualification. Many talk about using TCs at big name firms as a springboard to roles in fintech/lawtech, traditional banking or management consultancy.

Whether or not this is a good thing, it is a real trend. Students/trainees should therefore have real data that could help guide their ambitions. I haven’t seen many metrics out there that review the exit opportunities based on specific firms. It would be interesting to know a) which firms have the most successful exit opportunities at NQ, Junior Associate and Senior Associate levels, b) what those exit opportunities are, and c) how many of those exit opportunities offer better pay, better work/life balance or both.

LC and ROF should get on this.

(31)(1)

Winterwheat

This is a really good point. I think another thing to factor in is that firms still definitely treat their trainees as if they’re interns who should be overjoyed to work there, even if they’re spending most of their time photocopying after a degree, a masters and the LPC. There is this assumption that its fine that a trainee really doesn’t build up a whole lot of knowledge during their TC because the firm expects you will stay in the firm forever and you can learn it later.

In reality, I think trainees need to be given far more say over their own careers and the quality of training needs to be improved. It shouldn’t be acceptable that trainees who are largely in their mid to late twenties, and really don’t have time to waste, could find themselves in practice areas they have no interest in because the firm ordained it and then with little ability to pivot to something new because the majority of a biglaw training contract is admin work or at best very trivial legal work.

Honestly from where I am now, I would not advise a young person to go into law for exactly the reasons you’ve described – you simply don’t know what you’re getting and it may prove to be extremely difficult to get out into something good.

(8)(1)

Forever Associate

Interesting perspective.

I was a career changer into law in my late 20s, transferring from the energy sector which is a sector my firm has a practice group in. My firm wanted me to do the typical admin trainee stuff and I just said ok, or you could let me do my own thing and actually get chargeable work whilst I learn the technical law behind my practical knowledge. Fortunately they agreed for the most part and only had to do a very little amount of admin. Individual experiences may vary.

Re advising not to go into law: depending on the outcomes of any real market research into the exit opportunities that I queried, perhaps a TC at a MC/SC/US/other big brand City firm may be the perfect thing to recommend to students with little to no interest in private practice law… first couple years are going to be photocopying, creating powerpoint slides and checking signature blocks no matter where you wind up.

(7)(0)

jaded by law

You were incredibly lucky then to have found an employer that would listen to you. My experience was very similar to most trainees – I found a firm I thought would be great, applied, got the interview, was very straightforward on how I see my career and practice evolve – they loved it! They were so amazed they took me of a few months before their usual trainee intake would start. Guess what happened next? My first seat was in a department I had no interest in. My second seat was a choice between 2 departments I had absolutely no interest in. They were consistently late and unorganised with moving you on to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th seat. So, I chose my 2nd seat reminding them of what we’ve discussed at the interview, they’ve said “oh, of course, we will absolutely see what opportunities we can provide” (even though I was promised at least 2 seats in the departments I truly wanted and they themselves said my vision for those departments and practice was something they were extremely interested in, yeah… right…) So, by the time my 3rd seat came up, I got assigned to yet again something that was so out of my interest it couldn’t have been any further, or so I thought. My 4th seat was basically a repeat of my 1st seat…. By this point, I was fuming inside because I couldn’t change anything and I fully understood that all these seats will not give me the kind of future and practice I imagined. I tried transferring my TC to another firm, looked at every possible way to get out – apparently TC transfers are a big taboo in this profession – why? That obviously didn’t help. So I stuck with it – 2 years and all that money and effort at uni down the drain. After qualifying, I left the firm as I couldn’t bear the thought of making them money whilst they’ve lied to me for 2 years straight and basically tried to make me into their little puppet. Mind you, I’m no spring chicken, I came to that firm in my late 20s already, so I wasn’t as young and impressionable as some other trainees that they normally deal with. Now I am qualified, I can only get a role within the 4 areas I did my TC in (none of which I find midly interesting or stimulative), no firm wants to take an NQ who had no previous seat in that particular field. So now I’m stuck with a profession that’s stressful, gives me no joy and there’s little I can do to change that.
This is the interesting bit though, we, in the UK tend to pick one field to specialise in, whilst in Europe, it is widely accepted that a legal professional can pick any area he wants to work in – very much how barristers work. So my question would be, why are we still locking ourselves into 1 area and make it so impossible for people to switch easily? Surely, if you manage to graduate, get those degrees, pass your TC, it should be accepted that we can go into a new field (not having had a seat in it during TC) and learn it on the way just as well? Now we waste 2 years of our lives doing meaningless stuff for a firm that doesn’t care about you and get stuck with whatever presets they chose for us… Where’s the logic in this? If the SRA really cared about junior lawyers they would make it possible for trainees to report firms like this. It should also be a requirement, upon starting a TC that a written agreement is signed between the firm and a trainee clearly outlining which seats have been agreed.

(8)(0)

Chris Lee

that’s very sad jaded by law – are you sure you cannot change specialism at all? I know that this is what honest every retreat will say, but I also know people who have done so recently up to 3-4 yrs pqe – including myself. This includes the people who did not do a seat in the area they qualified into. Granted, it is very difficult, but it is possible. Feel free to DM me on LinkedIn do you want to discuss confidentially

jaded by law

Thanks Chris. Of course, there’s always that slight chance that at some point somewhere firms will get so desperate that they will take in retrains. I believe we both know it’s not something that happens too often. My recent experience has been that, even if you get an interview for a retrain, employers treat you with such a degree of suspicion (in terms of switching back to the original area of law you come from) that it makes me think why on earth did they waste my time calling me for an interview then? At the same time, let’s face it, often the reality doesn’t match our expectations and fantasies about what it would be like working in one particular area or another (saw that ever so briefly in the corporate department). My point is if firms get a trainee who has interests and knows (or think they know) what area they want to specialise in – give them the chance to see that in practice. At this stage, I am not sure if jumping around switching areas is the best way forward, especially since you never know whether you’ll truly like the area you chose to retrain in. This again brings me to my previous point about locking ourselves into one particular area of law which makes it very difficult for people to tweak their careers.
Yes, I’ve seen people switch areas, some do it straight out of TC, some do it at 5-6 PQE, others at partner (or near partner) level even, but those are total exceptions to the general rule. Just as an example, in my previous firm, the commercial litigation partners used to say I’m a natural litigator and should’ve gone with litigation rather than the area I was in. As soon as I told them that my TC was primarily litigation based (just not commercial) and once I told them what seats I did, those praises and “attempts to get me to switch” stopped immediately… So there you go…

Winterwheat

You have literally just described exactly what happened to me. I wanted one practice area, I would happily do my other seats in whatever random shite they wanted me to do so long as I got that one seat. I was promised that everyone got to do their first choice at least once and instead I’ve been put in areas not even remotely related to what I wanted. Before I started the TC – I was working in the industry I wanted, why did I leave to do this TC? I really feel like the last 2 years were a complete and utterly waste of time through no fault of my own. I would be further along in my career now had I never done the TC at all.

Troof

To address some of the comments above and as someone previously at AG, can confirm that the hours for corporate/finance associates is pretty much the same as the hours found in MC and US firms – only difference is you’re taking a 20-70K hit on salary depending on seniority. The only people who clock off at 6/7 are the folk in Planning, Pensions and other similarly small teams.

(9)(0)

Big Bird 101

Don’t think i’ve seen honest chat like this in the LC comments for sometime. Very refreshing.

Thank you.

(10)(0)

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