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Slaughter and May announces a swathe of secretarial redundancies
05 October 2012
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Slaughter and May has announced that 28 full-time secretarial roles are to go in a round of redundancies. And it emerges that the firm has also seconded a number of under-occupied corporate associates to other departments.

The firm put the 165 secretaries in its London office on notice this week that the equivalent of 28 full-time secretarial roles are for the chop. It insists that the move is not about penny pinching but reflects "the changing role of secretaries within a law firm". The firm goes on to say that technological advances mean that lawyers have become "more independent". Partners will now be typing with two fingers and learning how to use "electric mail".

Slaughters is aiming to complete the redundancy process by 31 December. Happy new year!

    An independent Slaughters partner mastering modern technology, yesteryear

In other news it seems that even Slaughters' legendary corporate department has become so quiet that junior associates have been dispatched to other departments. Three went to competition for six months, two to finance and three slightly more senior corporate associates were sent to help the busy litigation department. The firm said all the associates were volunteers and junior associates who preferred to carry on playing Angry Birds remain in corporate were allowed to do so.

Re-jigging quiet associates seems to have become something of a trend. Clifford Chance recently asked capital markets associates to take three month sabbaticals, whilst Herbert Smith has been seconding under-used Hong Kong associates to other departments and to clients.

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anonymous user
05/10/2012 13:29
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There is only one word to describe these redundancies and it is SICK.

A firm making vast profits even during a deep recession has no economic justification for forcing out long serving staff who will struggle to find alternative work.
anonymous user
05/10/2012 14:57
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Why should they retain staff who are surplus to requirements just because those at the top make a lot?

If they operated like this they would not be successful for long.
Ratykins
05/10/2012 17:25
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I suggest that clients of Slaughter & May check their billing carefully and challenge any £300-£500 per hour entries for "typing".
anonymous user
05/10/2012 18:13
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Most secretaries are vastly overpaid and underworked. Looking at the advance in technology and more lawyers doing their own typing i am surprised it has taken this long.
anonymous user
06/10/2012 08:15
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What a selfish thing to say. No doubt written by a partner who'll have no money worries for the rest of its life. How shallow and nothing more I'd expect from S&M.
Jumping on the bandwagon springs to mind....
anonymous user
06/10/2012 11:57
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Ha ha, I don't think you quite get it. The reason S&M secretaries don't do any typing is because they are too busy helping partners to run their country estates and running down the road to do their personal banking and shopping, hiring nannies, arranging children's car insurance etc etc etc. Lawyers ended up having to do it themselves until it finally became the norm.
anonymous user
06/10/2012 20:16
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I am astounded by Anonymous User's (05/10/12 18:13) sweeping generalisation but sadly this is generally the accepted view. Like every profession there are those who don't pull their weight.

A good friend of mine is a secretary in a very large law firm and often pulls all-nighters with her team...in fact she and a colleague recently clocked up over 200 hours between them in the space of a month. I find this shocking but when I asked her why she did it she said that yes the overtime money is good but she does it because she's part of the team and wants to see the deal through to the end with them. In many cases secretaries are overlooked for their skills, intelligence and commitment.
anonymous user
07/10/2012 22:00
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Slaughters probably have the strongest, most prestigious brand in the market and this detracts from that. Would natural attrition not have got this done?
anonymous user
09/10/2012 18:54
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200 hours between them in a month? That's what, roughly 25 hour weeks? Are you referring to overtime?

It's natural progression as the computer-savvy younger generation come through. This isn't being harsh on secretaries it's reality.
anonymous user
09/10/2012 23:03
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Reflection of the junior associates and trainees who have realised it's quicker to directly edit word documents than markup a printoff and send it to a seccy.
anonymous user
15/10/2012 14:16
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Perhaps Slaughter & May should consider "letting go" a few of the Partners. That way they would be able to reduce the amount of secretarial redundancies! As for secretaries being overpaid and underworked. Err I think not. From a legal secretary who is devoted to her boss and her job !!! LOOOL
  

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