kingsley event

"Welcome! We do have to clear out by three for Izzy's 7th birthday party."

Kingsley Napley has pulled off the difficult trick of telling its lawyers they’ve had a terrific year, but sadly there’s no money for bonuses, and now they should catch buses instead of cabs and stop wining and dining clients at fancy restaurants.

Management congratulated staff in an email this week for growing revenue by 11%, which it said meant Kingsley Napley had outperformed the wider legal market by 4%, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Despite revenues of £62m falling short of management's £66m target, the increase represented “really strong” growth which was “of course all due to your hard work and commitment – thank you to everyone”, the firm told staff.

Unfortunately it wasn't quite enough. "Our profits will be significantly lower than we budgeted to achieve”, continued the email, mainly due to "significant investments in increasing our partner numbers”.

“I’m afraid it is unlikely therefore that we will be able to distribute a firmwide bonus this December, and, if we able to do so, it will be very modest”, continued the email.

A source told a shocked ROF that some staff weren't that happy about all the cash they'd earned going on costly new partners, instead of themselves, but perhaps the other belt-tightening measures implemented by Kingsley Napley will distract them.

Staff have been told they should get buses instead of taxis when they travel at the firm's expense to events, courts, and meetings, according to a source. And that they should take clients to "normal restaurants".

A spokesperson for Kingsley Napley said, "We have indeed been investing for growth and like many firms at the moment, we are taking prudent steps to manage our cost base".

Quite right. A few completion celebrations at Wagamamas instead of the Wolseley, a handful of journeys to the RCJ on the 76 with ten boxes of litigation documents, and it will quickly recoup that cash.

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Tip Off ROF


Just Me 23 June 23 09:33

Right up there with the most embarrassing things a firm can be associated with.  

Would be much better if they were undertaking mass redundancies, or partners were caught with their hands in the till - but THIS takes the moderately priced biscuit!


Stick 'em up punk, It's the fun lovin' criminals 23 June 23 09:48

Kingsley Napley has done that classic thing for a law firm which does one thing well - crime - and think to itself, OK, let's do loads of things well, pay chinnies to hire in a load of expensive people who come in on the promise of huge growth, sit twiddling their thumbs and then after about 2 years leave or are disillusioned when they are managed out. They then spread bad vibes about the firm, causing their market reputation to hit the skids and they lose even the work they did well because so many people hate them.

Stick to the knitting.

anonymous 23 June 23 10:09

to be followed later this financial year by ''no , we can't promote you to partner because we've spent all our cash on recruiting expensive new partners'


'and no pay rise instead because, well, we've spent our money on expensive new partners'

ProbAnon 23 June 23 10:13

For a firm with hours target of like 1200(maybe 1250 max) - should anyone really be arguing for bonuses?

Anon 23 June 23 10:25

Why on earth would they give that much detail in the email. Just referring to increased costs/investment in the business would be sufficient excuse rather than pinning a target on the backs of lateral partners on fixes.

Anon 23 June 23 10:28

If your pay reflects your target, and your bonus is based on your pay, I don’t see why bonuses shouldn’t be available to firms with lower targets. The bonuses will be correspondingly small, that’s all.

Anonymous 23 June 23 10:54

Left KN many years ago - the place is financially illiterate.

Not the first time that it has had to make embarrassing statements to staff about why a bonus isn't getting paid, while simultaneously reporting surging revenues to the market.

09:48 is right about the cause of KN's malaise but doesn't go far enough. Top notch criminal team sitting atop a mound of mediocre, low margin departments that make up the rest of the firm. Far too many superfluous support staff who don't add the value they're supposed to. A cliquish management team that only includes its friends, so ends up never hearing challenge. Total loss of focus on what matters to making a successful law firm grow and/or be a financial success and an unhelpful obsession with vogueish vanity metrics. No clear vision about the firm's identity beyond crime and nobody there likely to come up with one (no, something generic about diversity isn't going to work this year either, stop suggesting it at every meeting).

End result: can't keep the talent that it needs to grow beyond being a top-tier Crime firm. People who see the issues get frustrated and don't stay. So the firm only retains mediocrity that can't see the problem, or which is wiling to flatter a small clique that doesn't have what it takes to get out of the current rut.

Sad but true. A lot of very pleasant people there, but it's a firm that is stuck in place until external events force a major overhaul.

Anonymous 23 June 23 10:57

@10:25 - because the messaging is done by people who aren't particularly good at running a law firm.

To an outsider, the issue is obvious, but nobody who points that out is allowed in the tent (not a 'culture fit', far too abrasive). So the tent is now populated entirely by people pathologically incapable of criticising the performance of their fellow tent residents.

Anon 23 June 23 11:20

They need to take the bus! Oh my God. It means they need to travel with peasants. Outrageous.

Anon 23 June 23 11:54

"Kingsley Napley is proud to announce that each fee earner who brought in more than £200,000 of revenue this year will receive a complementary £5 gift card to Frankie & Benny's. Frankie & Benny's: It Has Food."

Chin Chin 23 June 23 12:53

KN is an absolute tin pot shop with a laughable reputation, I know a few ex-associates who had the misfortune of working there before they escaped career purgatory

Finally 23 June 23 13:13

Kingly Napkins 

That’s all. I have been holding that in for years. Sorry. 

Wipe your bottoms with it if you must. 

Anonymous 23 June 23 14:22

"Go woke, go broke? They outperformed the market by 4%?"

With a grasp on the figures that tight you could get a job as Kingsley's CFO.


Revenue is a vanity metric. Only profit matters to the health of a business.

Growing revenue faster than competitors is only impressive if you are making a profit on it. Growing revenue by £10m is worthless if it costs you £10m to bring that revenue in and service it. The City has been home to dozens of firms who've gone bust by 'outperforming the market' in just the same way.

Put it this way - did 'the market' pay bonuses this year and ask associates to take the bus to court? 

If it didn't, is KN actually outperforming it in any way that matters?

Anonymous 23 June 23 15:12

As soon as senior management have to start getting Megabus and National Express they'll start allowing taxis. 

Of course we know what really happens. The plebs get the bus and management makes up justification why they're exempt and entitled to travel better. 

Bus2court? 23 June 23 17:47

Why would anyone take a bus to court? If a fee-earner is going to court, it's inevitably billable work. The client will be paying for the travel time and the taxi fare.

Having a clock running while you check the bus route, walk to the bus stop, wait at the bus stop, and then potentially walk a distance from the bus stop to court, is plainly going to be a worse deal for the client. 

Anonymous 24 June 23 11:01

Now even the lawyers are learning that boom and bust is just for the little people.  For the rest Boom is when the accumulate cash and bust is when they use it to buy assets the rest of us default on.

Tough luck suckers.

Anonymous 24 June 23 18:37

“With a grasp on the figures that tight you could get a job as Kingsley's CFO.“ 

You seem like a top notch mind and a nice chap to boot. 

Pray tell - how does wokery fit into all of this, old boy? No monies for the little people, keep the rich rich etc… sounds like some rollicking good conservatism to me! 

Anonymous 26 June 23 10:12

"how does wokery fit into all of this, old boy?"

It fits in like this:

Poster 1 says "Go woke go broke"

Poster 2 responds saying that isn't correct and that actually KN "outperformed the market by 4%"

I, Person 3, reply by pointing out that KN didn't 'outperform the market' in any way that that improved its financial health, and that taken in isolation the metric that it is using to suggest outperformance is a useless vanity measure.

Note the absence in my comment of any suggestion that wokery moved the needle on KN's revenues one way or the other.

Hope that helps.

Lord Justice P 27 June 23 10:46

I have heard this complaint before:

Lateral comes in, promises big things and does nothing. Gets booted, moves onto the next firm. Repeat.

(a) Could someone explain how this is a thing.

(b) How can that be a sustainable career strategy? 

(c) How commonplace is this sort of thing?

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