links pas redundancy

"We're sorry to see you go -" "Byeeee!"

45 legal secretaries at Linklaters have chosen voluntary redundancy after the firm offered all its London PAs a deal in March.

In total, 225 legal secretaries and business team PAs were given the opportunity to take a severance package, and now 20% have accepted the offer.

"We are pleased that our voluntary redundancy offer has proven an attractive opportunity for those who are leaving us, as we continue to focus on innovative ways of working and shaping our secretarial teams to support a more agile working policy for the longer term", said the firm in a statement. 

"They leave us as our friends and with our sincere thanks and support". 

The offer followed Linklaters’ decision to permit fee-earners to work from home for up to 50% of the time. The anticipated take-up by lawyers, and the exigencies of homeworking during the pandemic, meant they were routinely undertaking tasks which used to be performed by PAs. 

A source close to management said Linklaters had no internal target for the number of PAs it aimed to shed, and has no plans for compulsory redundancies. Which means Links may have managed to thread the needle of business efficiency without infuriating staff, as firms across the sector take aim at their support teams - both as a result of the pandemic altering working patterns, and also to address longer term technological shifts which have eroded the job description of the traditional secretarial role.

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 21 May 21 09:36

I'll take £20k not to work as a secretary at Links.  Oh, go on then, £15k.  That's my final offer.

Anonymous 21 May 21 09:41

Redundancies of support staff create a vicious cycle:

-Fewer support staff means that associates find it harder to get support, and when they do get it, they often find the work to have been done in a hurry (maybe by an unaccountable - to them at least - services hub hundreds of miles away) or without the specialist knowledge required (as PSLs stretch across more and more areas).

-Associates end up taking on more work themselves- it's quicker, easier and you don't find yourself up the creek when a steaming pile of badly done work lands on your desk well after the deadline you set, and you have to do it yourself again from scratch late at night.

-Management notices that utilisation of support staff is low, and sees a cost that can be cut.

-Fewer support staff means that associates find it even harder to get support...

Anonymous 21 May 21 10:06

Any idea what their exit package; 4 weeks for every year worked etc? Makes alot of sense if you have get a fat package and do something else you love or leave on the fri and start on the monday at another firm

anon 21 May 21 10:09

In addition to anonymous at 09.41's excellent points - I would add that the quality of the work product going out the door is lower when only one set of eyes is on it - through no fault of the associate - as it is easier to spot someone else's mistakes than your own.  That devalues the work in the eyes of the client (although they often have the same errors in their emails).  It has become a spiral downwards with speed being valued more than quality.  

Tired PA 21 May 21 10:09

Here we go again, another week, more secretaries losing their jobs.  Always the secretaries, never the many middle managers who do nothing, or the many communications people and analysts of nothing.  As a secretary working for more people every year I’m having to do longer hours to keep on top of everything, routinely doing 12 hours a day.   To the people who say we do nothing, I do  the whole billing process and chasing debt, I’ve made all the electronic bundles used for court hearings and basically keep my fee earners on top of their admin load so they can bring in work and fees.  If I try to get hold of any other business service department after 5 pm they’re all offline and enjoying long evenings, I have to arrange marketing events because marketing are too busy sending tweets and yet I’m the one more likely to be made redundant.   So fee earners, please, when they come for your secretary tell them to look at other areas first, if you don’t use your secretary, please start, the benefits to you could be enormous.  And to other secretaries, if you’re enjoying wfh without doing a great deal of work, please up your game or it won’t be long before you’re a ROF Story.

Another tired PA 21 May 21 11:05

Totally agree with 10:09 above.  I'm all for diversity and inclusion and best practice, but do we need a "Peoples Person" Director or 20 people working in a Best Delivery Hub - doing what exactly???!  I understand the traditional role of legal secretary has changed dramatically, but we evolve, some of us are quite clever and know more about the processes of a large magic circle firm than these "managers" earning triple our salary.  Of course business needs and costs are a massive factor, but perhaps streamline these other areas before gunning for us.  And yes, I am at the moment "at risk" of redundancy too - it's not a nice feeling.

Anonymous 21 May 21 11:12

"As a secretary working for more people every year I’m having to do longer hours to keep on top of everything, routinely doing 12 hours a day"

Should have taken the package then, shouldn't you?

Anonymous 21 May 21 11:18

"I'm all for diversity and inclusion and best practice, but do we need a "Peoples Person" Director or 20 people working in a Best Delivery Hub - doing what exactly???"

Why, for making sure that a law firm whose central mission should be providing quality legal services to its clients posts a lot of material online about how diverse and socially aware it is of course!


What do you mean it sounds like a complete waste of time and money?! And what's a "vanity project" anyway?

Anon 21 May 21 11:40

To 11.12. Take redundancy in this market and risk not getting another job?  Lucky living in London is cheap eh?  Or maybe law firms could realise the benefits a good secretary can bring and utilize this to their benefit.  But no, they’d rather employ people to do the jobs mentioned above so they can say they’ve ticked some boxes.  

Anonymous 21 May 21 11:54

"Take redundancy in this market and risk not getting another job?"

Run this by me again, are you saying that you are a Beggar or a Chooser?

I'm sure that my old nan once said something about the two being mutually exclusive.

Anonymous 21 May 21 12:36

@Anonymous 21 May 21 09:41

I make sure to have a good chemistry with my assistant and that we work well together. I also make sure to inform management I need this assistant so that I can keep her and avoid the situation you describe.

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