Cleary Gottlieb has made all its paralegals in London redundant.
The US firm confirmed it was getting rid of the paralegal team, and won’t get any more.
Until a few weeks ago, Cleary ran a recruitment page on its website for paralegal candidates who were "detail-oriented, have excellent organizational ability and strong written and oral communication skills". But that page has now been replaced with a much sadder one. "Cleary Gottlieb's London office no longer has an active Paralegal recruitment program", it states.
A source said the redundancy of the paralegals was handled less than brilliantly, with trainees "expected to pick up their work after an hour of handover".
Cleary's London offering has been thinned out at several levels. Last year the firm lost a quarter of its office after more than 26 lawyers quit. In recent weeks, said a source, seven associates have left. "Morale is rock bottom", they claimed, "the atmosphere is toxic".
“We confirm that we have made three paralegals redundant in our London office", said a spokesman for Cleary. "This was regrettable but followed a 9 month review of work patterns that indicated that there was no longer the same level of demand for their services as had historically existed".
"Those services are now being provided by a combination of our junior administrative staff", and, "where it helps to provide additional training in areas such as court work, trainee solicitors".
The assertion that seven associates had recently left did “not tally" with Cleary's figures, he said, and while the London office does have four fewer associates than this time last year, "we understand our attrition rates to be in line with the market”.