DWF is making an unknown number of PAs and business services staff redundant across its business.

As spokesman confirmed that, "As a part of our ongoing strategic review", it has begun a consultation process "with colleagues in admin and secretarial roles in England and Scotland". But he would not clarify how many roles would be axed.

The redundancy consultation is underway despite the firm recently releasing positive financial results. DWF posted a 10.9% increase in group revenue from £268.1m to £297.2m for the financial year ending 30 April 2020. In its market report, the firm trumpeted the growth notwithstanding the "significant Q4 COVID-19 impact."

Reading between the lines, it had a less cheery tone. "Further measures" are needed "post year-end to rationalise underperforming units", stated DWF, which looks very much like to be management-speak for 'redundancies'.


Fired

"You're fired rationalised."


CEO Sir Nigel Knowles, who took over from the ousted Andrew Leaitherland, also hinted in the market update about DWF wielding the axe, saying the firm had "focused on consolidating our existing operations to increase profitability, delivering cost efficiencies and improving lock-up and cash generation". Which could be interpreted as the firm reducing costs to boost its share price. It's one reason law firms are nervous to float, knowing they will have to battle with the competing demands of expectant shareholders, and staff who need money, motivation...and a job. 

Other firms have also started slashing jobs during the pandemic, including Irwin MitchellReed Smith, Dorsey & Whitney, Brethertons and Fladgate. With the government's furlough scheme finishing at the end of October, others may well follow suit.

Tip Off ROF

Comments

ShootyMcShootyface 11 September 20 10:08

My old PA (from when I worked at a firm that was swallowed by DWF) was let go recently, after about 20 years of combined service :(

 

Anonymous 11 September 20 11:28

Glad their priorities are right 🙄

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/dwf-partners-rake-in-4m-from-first-share-sales

Anonymous 11 September 20 11:44

All they are doing is reversing the rapid expansion by Leaitherland to achieve cost savings. 

One positive that has come from this is the butt kissers that worshipped Andrew for promotions now have to start earning their keep while aware that they are associated with the "old regime" that got themselves into this position.  

Anonymous 11 September 20 12:04

Never work for a law firm plc. Your boss is a mercurial psychopath https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Corporation_(2003_film)

Insider 11 September 20 12:38

The redundancies are one thing but the huge pay cuts being imposed upon the staff are another. Quite unnecessary and unfair As workloads remain the same. The partners are often worth millions and the staff are taking pay cuts in order to maintain the  inflated lifestyles of Partners’ wives and husbands. Come on DWF, you are better than this. 

GH 11 September 20 13:00

Working practices at DWF have become worse and worse. Thier mantra of "we put our people first" is a joke. I hope all the partners and legal big wigs will enjoy learning to type and the people being axed get a much better future due to the changes.🙏

Anonymous 11 September 20 13:12

Cutting legal support will force fee earners to do more admin tasks. 

The admin tasks are not chargeable to a third party and the SLA with the clients shall state the insurer will not pay for admin tasks. This can only lead to write offs or staff being asked to work extra hours for free to hit their targets. 

Also the fee earners towards the more senior end will not want to do the admin tasks and just push this onto already stressed paralegals.

Outsourcing it to an internal admin hub also won't work as it will need admin people to learn all the styles and SLAs which isn't possible. Trying to charge the admin centre to a file also won't work as it will have to be written off again because clients will refuse to pay for it. If charging a client 100-200 an hour they expect admin built into the overhead margins with a reasonable amount of legal support for fee earners.

If Clydes, BLM, DACB, Kennedys and Keoghs have sense they will start to asset strip DWF's teams with talent. 

Anonymous 11 September 20 13:40

@13:10 - wrong. Low performers have had cuts forced on them. They are silently accepting it because they don't want to broadcast it.

Usha Venkitakrishnan 11 September 20 13:44

Our institute has sent application for a project proposal on covid, 19 , will this be affected by the problem inDWF?

MrE 11 September 20 13:45

To the person saying there hasn't been pay cuts at DWF what bullshit. Staff are being asked to take unpaid leave or reduce hours.  Also it's not been uniformly applied so it is grossly unfair to the staff that some are affected and others arent.  DwF failed to furlough anyone and now cannot take advantage of the scheme   

13.10 rectifier 11 September 20 14:48

You are wrong 13.10.  
 

Pay cuts are taking place. They are to bring DWF salaries in line with the others (lowest) in the market place. This is happening. It is a shame as it removes the DWF premium which was a motivator. It will increase mobility as we can now move without having to accept lower salaries which didn’t used to happen. It is also short term-ism as dividends are needed to pay the partners who accepted dividends in place of cash. Risky move and the staff are now paying for it. 

To @13.12 today 11 September 20 14:52

DWF and talent. Don’t often see those words in a sentence together. Well done. Not sure Keoghs is ever a destination of choice though. Good at low value motor from their motorway junction offices in the North, but they are hardly a premium outfit are they  

Ann Ominous 11 September 20 15:18

@Shooty well, my firm made redundant a very small number of admin people, including someone with over 40 years of service. Yes, four-zero. 

Pass the sick bag.

Plc 11 September 20 15:21

Ordinary people suffering so the Shareholders can benefit - that’s the plc model I’m afraid.  Less people, less money = bigger dividends and a higher share price.  Choose your next move very carefully. 

Anonymous 11 September 20 15:28

15:21 - you will need to choose your move carefully as you don't know the difference between less and fewer.

Anonymous 11 September 20 16:10

I see the rogues gallery that got pushed out of DLAP has finally solidified their powerhold over DWF.  For the love of God DWF staffers, get out while you still can!

Anonymous 11 September 20 17:13

Remember how DLA Piper treated people in 2008/9?

They are now senior at DWF in 2020.

Anonymous 11 September 20 17:14

Not surprised everyone involved in DWF were expecting this people having to reapply for their jobs etc not nice!

Anonymous 11 September 20 18:27

Same at Ince. Hard to take especially after their very profitable annual report and caning the government scheme with no top up on salary. Very poor show.

anonymous 11 September 20 18:58

To Anonymous at 13.12. FYI BLM are also in a redundancy consultation until middle of October 😡😡

To 18.27 re Ince 11 September 20 19:35

No top up! I am furloughed by Plexus and they have been in contact every week, very supportive AND have topped up my (and everyone else) salary by 20% since April. That’s how you buy loyalty. How can Ince not top when they make loads money more than Plexus? Shameful. 

PA 11 September 20 23:25

DWF want to get rid of experienced PAs on old contracts and replace with 'junior admin staff' on minimum wage to do the same job - well good luck DWF...   lets see how that goes.

PA 11 September 20 23:29

Dwf have always wanted to get rid of experienced PAs on old contracts and replace with junior admin staff to do the same job...   well good luck DWF - lets see how that goes 

 

Recruitment issues 12 September 20 06:32

Retention and recruitment will be an issue for DWF and the other listed shops in the future.  Who on earth would want to join any of them?  

PA 12 September 20 09:59

DWF wanted to replace PA’s with admins a long time ago hence why the PA’s had to time record. They wanted to prove that PA’s were doing more admin work so they could get admin staff in who were cheaper! As for pay cuts they haven’t even given pay rises and then email everyone regarding how they are going to start giving out bonuses! DWF are looking at getting rid of 36 PA’s and 24 admin staff. Never should have floated on the stock market and they should have furloughed staff. As for putting their people first - never have! 

Plexus fee earner (Leeds) 12 September 20 10:49

I am on furlough from Plexus too. I’ve been topped up and have received my full salary every pay day so far since furlough started. I also know that my boss/Partner is on a pay cut to help pay for the top up to my salary. I too feel very loyal in return. Suspect some tough decisions might be down the road but I can fault the firm’s efforts to support me and others and I know we aren’t be shafted or sacrificed to keep Partner profits up - quite the opposite in fact. 

Ex DWF 12 September 20 12:22

The comment about replacing experienced PAs with more junior admin staff rings true. It is this sort of short sighted approach that contributed to my decision to leave.  DWF think commercial law can be practiced in the same way they run their insurance practice; maybe they are right, but it won't be very fulfilling.

Anonymous 12 September 20 17:41

Despite good financial results, Dwf have recently reduced the DPU typists by half and now PA and admin staff - 'they care for their staff' - thats got to be a joke!

Anonymous 13 September 20 09:51

This has nothing to do with DWF's float. LLPs were making these sorts of decisions long before they were permitted to float. Think back to 2008-2012. 

Anonymous 13 September 20 13:02

These decisions have nothing to do with DWF floating. Firms of all shapes and structures are making their support teams redundant. It's not that they're more heartless or incompetent than the likes of BLM (an LLP) who, at least prortionately, have been far more aggressive here. 

forster 13 September 20 13:26

I can never take seriously or remember  a law firm with its name as  just initials

Remind me who "DWF " are again? 

former associate 15 September 20 10:40

rollonfriday seems to be the only place where the truth about DWF is being told.. the marketing team @ DWF has been rather busy in the past few weeks. I gave notice and found a better job, however, I knew my practice group would have problems in the upcoming months, so I kinda left on my own terms before they would ask me to leave. don't know whether it is just my office (I do not live in the UK) and its problems, but many people are giving notice and started looking for new jobs @ my former shop. retention is pretty low and the recently hired people (during good ol' pre-covid-Andrew-times) are considering leaving

Long ago employee 16 September 20 09:20

Well no surprises here!  I worked for this shower in the 90s.  I lasted about 10 months.  They used to get rid of anyone whose face didn't fit and secretarial staff would be called to HR on a Friday and never be seen again.

Total disregard for people.  Its all about bills bills bills!

 

 

Greed 16 September 20 09:44

DWF’s partner shareholders want to receive their dividends but pre-float it was all about the number of marbles.  Each marble gained represented a greater share of the distributable profits.  

There are more investors now and DWF has to keep its internal and external investors happy.

Maybe the partners pre-float would have been less likely to cull loyal staff because it’s hard to shove people onto the dole queue.  The external investors won’t care about any of that and will be baying for dividends and an improved share price.

Maybe Leitherland wasn’t prepared to do all the things now being done......

@Gary A 14/9/20 17 September 20 06:32

Yes it is true but the way the powers that be are dealing with it is atrocious. This may get a little messy/take a while... 

Anonymous 17 September 20 11:34

A lot of people are looking to get out. 

The pressure on fee earners to cross sell on connected services and central service products is ridiculous. The focus is on retaining all costs in-house and flogging bolt-ons to clients. 

It's all commoditised law. There is little difference between DWF and the likes of DACB, Clydes, Kennedys, BLM, etc. 

Chizzy rascal 17 September 20 15:25

These posts are comical. The quicker you all realise it’s all about money the easier you will sleep at night. Just roll with cha

Anonymous 17 September 20 19:22

15.25.

Totally agree.

There's no such thing as loyalty in this industry, or indeed in any industry for that matter.

Earn as much as you can, as quickly as you can, and get out. 

big law gurl 17 September 20 23:24

@Chizzy - it's all about money everywhere, that's what Big Law is about, but boooi, I've been there, there is basically no work from office policy @ my former shop (to reduce costs), people are leaving in waves, some employees have been let go, I've seen how the firm reacted to its problems in e-mails being sent out to fee earners, and IMO this ship is sinking slowly, maybe some offices are sinking faster than the others, but still - it is a fact

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