Fieldfisher zipped its lips about the cuts

An insider at Fieldfisher has told RollOnFriday that the firm has made over 27 staff redundant.

The source said that the London-headquartered firm had put secretaries on notice with "at least 27 to go." Voluntary redundancy is not an option, as the partners will decide who goes, according to the source. Presumably because the firm wants to control who is made redundant.

The firm refused to give any comment, so the number of redundancies may differ - if you're at the firm and have been affected, do get in touch.  

Meanwhile, Ince has cut 50 staff. In the firm's AGM statement it said that lawyers and support staff had been made redundant in areas where the firm did not expect business to "recover sufficiently in the medium term” from the pandemic.

The firm is also potentially following in Slater and Gordon's footsteps and cutting office space in the future, as it said its current premises “may be too large or may no longer be suitable”. Ince referred to an opportunity for a break in their tenancy "within the next three years" to give them "flexibility" to meet "changed working practices" and the potential for "further operational cost savings".

Ince also confirmed that dividend payments remained suspended due to the pandemic’s impact on business.

Other firms have slashed jobs during the pandemic, including Addleshaw GoddardDWFIrwin MitchellReed Smith, Dorsey & Whitney, Brethertons and Fladgate. Although many firms appear to be riding the storm, with relatively few lawyer redundancies having been announced so far. And the big City firms have told RollOnFriday that they're absolutely flying.

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 02 October 20 11:33

Hope they kick out the underperformed partners who add little value aside from keep-busy meetings to have a presence.

sorrybut 02 October 20 12:35

sad truth is that Fieldfisher, like many firms, now has an excess of PAs who spend half of their days twiddling their thumbs or scrolling through social media as lawyers become more self-sufficient and work from home the majority of the time. I am more concerned by the firms laying off fee earners. 

Meh 02 October 20 15:24

I'd feel sorry for them if my experience with law firm secretaries wasn't that they see lawyers as the enemy and refuse to do work.

Anonymous 03 October 20 06:19

It's about time PAs woke up to the fact that their working world has changed forever and that much of what they did in the past simply isn't needed anymore.  That isn't to say they can't play a part and there is much value to be gained from working well with a skilled, competent and willing PA. They do exist and these won't be the PAs on the firing line at FF



Bleating 03 October 20 12:24

It's sad that many secretaries don't seek opportunities to demonstrate the value they can add.  One of the few secretaries who has made a single appearance in our office since early March spends much of the day chatting.  She may find it hard to find a job that pays as well.  There's no way I can point this out or, if I did, it would be heeded.  It's so obvious where this will end.

spb insider 03 October 20 13:20

SPB is wielding the axe and chopping roles, including fee earners, in the London office. Loads of PAs are getting dumped.

Anonymous 04 October 20 13:41

So how many PAs are there per fee earner? Where I used to work it was 2:1, now it is 1:2. 

Anonymous 05 October 20 13:58

I know a firm that put their secretaries on furlough then all redundant, and the fee earners that were affected by this did not know how to do any admin work! Same scenario in most firms! 

Anonymous 06 October 20 07:45

sorrybut has a point. I speak as a high-level PA. The reason why I'm gainfully employed (wfh and not being forced to return to an unsafe office) is because I have proved adaptable and highly skilled at what I do (I still think a monkey could do what I do, but evidence proves the contrary, sadly).  Yet frankly I still find it unbelievable I am paid the salary I am, and even more unbelievable that people I worked with were paid the same or even more to basically sit on the internet all day every day and occasionally type something. (past tense because they all got made redundant allegedly due to Covid, no I don't work for Fieldfisher).  Yet paralegals get paid next to nothing.  I detest my job, but I need to pay the rent, what can you do.  The things I'd actually prefer to do all pay less.

Anon 06 October 20 14:26

It really depends on the team you're in and the requirements of the job.  Some teams will suit the new hubs that are being created where ratios are 1 PA to 10/12 fee earners and these PAs may still not be particularly busy, but others require more admin support and busy fee earners don't have time to be chasing up unpaid bills, counsel's fees, purchase orders, who's attending what seminar and the like.  

Many PA roles do not actually involve much typing these days and giving non fee generating work to fee earners is going to impact on revenue.





Moneypenny 06 October 20 15:28

I'm a PA with nearly 30 year experience. The job has changed beyond recognition since the 1990, either you adapt or you're out. 

So far there have been no redundancies at our firm but this crisis has clearly shown who takes their job seriously and who doesn't. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the younger PAs disappear.

Anon PA - US Firm 06 October 20 16:31

Efficiencies at my firm are long overdue.  No mention as of yet with respect to redundancies, but we are seriously over staffed, even before Covid.  Whilst I get the fact that I work for a law firm and lawyers are first priority - I wish management had better managed support staff and that there was more transparency with respect to expectations generally.  Although, having said that, if management had dealt with poor performance earlier, it wouldn’t be obvious now who is most likely to be let go.

Fake Partner 08 October 20 04:14

I have had a secretary since 2012 and I don't use her for anything part from submitting my expenses. Only the dinosaur managing partner uses his secretary like it's 1977. We could save the firm thousands of dollars by cutting secretaries who are simply not needed.

DaisyMae 08 October 20 12:41

@ FakePartner

So you manage your own diary, including creating and amending appointments and dealing with any follow ups.  You book your own travel, including dealing with last minute alterations such as plane delays meaning you miss connections / meetings.  You create and send your own invoices and follow up on any unpaid ones.  You manage all internal seminars, including catering and ensuring all dietary requirements are catered for ?  If so, then I question how much money you make your firm as a lawyer.

Sounds like possibly your firm could save thousands by cutting you ... ?

Gary A 09 October 20 08:31

Fake Partner.

You sound like a dinosaur. Wow imagine having to send out a meeting invite on outlook or teams yourself. Must be tough! A lot quicker to tell a secretary who to invite, their email addresses and the day and time of the meeting and then to check it has been done correctly.

And I don't think you will be doing any overseas meetings anymore.

Don't you have a marketing team for seminars and a finance team for invoices?


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