Legal Business, the legal news publication, has ceased operations and furloughed its entire staff, RollOnFriday understands.

As of Wednesday afternoon it had stopped publication of its magazine and posts on its website*. 

All staff, of which 13 are listed on its site, have been furloughed, said sources. Technically they will retain their jobs, although effectively they have been laid off for what is meant to be a temporary period. Under the government's scheme they should be able to receive 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Legal Business, one of the best legal news publications out there and well known for its in-depth features, should have been more than capable to carrying on with staff working remotely, and until 3pm on 1 April it appeared to be doing just that.


Don't read all about it.

But instead of allowing reporters to continue to bring important news in a time of global crisis, Legalease, Legal Business' parent company, saw fit to plunge them into uncertainty and toss the burden of funding their reduced salaries to the taxpayer.

Legalease is owned and run by sole director John Pritchard, the solicitor-cum-legal-directories-magnate. It also produces Legal 500, which RollOnFriday revealed last week had slashed staff pay indecently quickly. 

Perhaps Legalease is in such a precarious state that closing down is the only way to protect the business. But furloughing all staff within a fortnight of the crisis hitting seems like a hasty move. RollOnFriday has been busy talking to law firm bosses in recent days, and all have said they anticipate a temporary blip and intend to sit tight, protect staff as much they can and carry on. Some have even said they are already seeing an uptick in business in Asia as it gets to grips with the pandemic in advance of the west.

Legalease did not respond to requests for comment.

*until a few hours after RollOnFriday made enquiries, when a lone post appeared on Thursday. Which means if we keep asking questions maybe Legalease will put everyone back to work.

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 03 April 20 10:48

Every time there is a recession John Pritchard treats his staff hideously. This one takes the biscuit though. We won’t be spending money with Legalease going forward.

Anonymous 03 April 20 10:55

If anyone fancies hiring some great reporters and researchers and starting up a new legal mag and directory there will never be a better time to do it. Could scoop up 90% of Legalease’s business overnight for an investment equating to a few months of staff costs. Or maybe the staff could do it themselves. 

Anonymous 03 April 20 11:27

If there was a ranking of legal publishers most likely to lay people off at the first sign of trouble then Mr Pritchard would certainly be in Band 1.

Anonymous 03 April 20 12:16

Perplexed why there needs to be pay cuts at an annuity business like Legal 500 unless the sole shareholder has lost control of his other costs.

Anonymous 03 April 20 13:09

Legalease used to be a company that was pretty good to its staff. In more recent years its senior management has been completely about the bottom line and is often at odds with the messaging they put out to market that they really care about the development of the legal profession. I wonder if all senior management salaries are furloughed also?!?! I certainly won’t be spending money with Legalease and really hope its talented staff will be snapped up elsewhere soon. 

Anonymous 03 April 20 15:20

I believe they've swept the business with furloughs - not just Legal Business. For this to happen so quickly to a company like this smacks of financial mismanagement to me and unfortunately the staff are paying the price. 

Anonymous 03 April 20 16:02

Upwards of 50 staff were furloughed almost immediately across the business. Perhaps long-standing rumours of cash flow management issues are coming home to roost and we'll see the business focus just on directories as has been discussed.

Mr Profiles 03 April 20 17:53

Not even gonna say how much we just spent on the EMEA profiles at Legal 500, but it was enough to keep many of their employees in full pay for a LONG time.  Absolute shit bags for doing this to the editors and researchers.  They have a tough job anyway, and get a raw deal from patronising man-baby partners in law firms and now this BS!

Get right in the sea Pritchard ya Tier 1 numpty. 

Anonymous 04 April 20 00:08

Saw their filings at companies house




Will never do business with them and let people I know in the industry know about this

Anonymous 04 April 20 01:45

Not surprised, staff have always been treated like crap at Legalease. The list of BS we had to deal with is endless 

Anonymous 04 April 20 10:37

A damning little detail is that Legalease did not comment. That’s the moment when Mr Pritchard lost his publications’ right to credibly rank or hold the profession to any sort of account after this is over.

BD Manager 04 April 20 18:46

Dosen't this make sense business wise though? From a BD perspective (one who has advertised in Legal Business and as a firm we subscribed) based on the rates that they charge and the amount of advertising in their issues, it doesn't really have the makings of a particularly profitable business. 13 full time journalists, including as well-respected leader, as well as all of the overheads and printing costs must be expensive. Maybe this is just a move to temporarily stop the bleeding for Pritchard and use Corona as an excuse as he tries to find some way to make it profitable (or preferably, sell it to someone who can truly let it shine!)

ussolicitor 05 April 20 09:40

Do you really expect law firm bosses to tell you anything other than that BS??? —> 

“RollOnFriday has been busy talking to law firm bosses in recent days, and all have said they anticipate a temporary blip and intend to sit tight, protect staff as much they can and carry on.”

To state the obvious: 

Of course they will not tell you about how many heads will roll and will tell you that they are “protecting” their staff! It is not in their interest to tell you otherwise. Internally, they are all evaluating where they can cut costs and have already put the wheels in motion (weeks ago) to get rid of people from support staff, partners who do not have enough business in top heavy practices and associates across the board who are not working at full capacity. They will not give the Coronavirus as the reason for the departure of these attorneys, instead saying that it is performance related or that things are not working out. US firms paying their attorneys BigLaw salaries have a whole arsenal of ways at their disposal which makes it very easy to get rid of staff. This is ALREADY happening at large US firms in London.

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