Offshore firm Harneys has made associates, paralegals and secretaries redundant during the COVID-19 pandemic, RollOnFriday understands. But on the other hand, it now has a dedicated ASS Unit.

Despite boasting in a March press release that it was "the lodestar of the offshore litigation landscape" within Asia, in the last few days the firm has quietly let go of associates, paralegals and business services staff, said sources. One put the total number of employees culled across the firm's, BVI, Hong Kong and Singapore offices at 25.

Harneys "is a compete panic zone", said a source. "It’s a nightmare here... and nobody knows who is next", they said. 


Harneys knows how to distract from the axe.

Another offshore firm, Collas Crill, is understood to have taken similarly drastic measures. Alongside pay cuts for lawyers it has also made a number of support staff redundant, said a source.

But there is a crack of light for Harneys, at least. In November the firm established an 'Asia Special Situations Unit'. Harneys' new ASS Unit has a restructuring and insolvency focus, which means it should be well-placed to make some booty as local businesses crap out.

Neither firm responded to requests for comment, not even about the bum squad.

Tip Off ROF


Chairman Mann's executive assistant 17 April 20 09:19

They need to stop lying in their press releases about being the largest offshore firm on the ground in Asia.  They aren't even close (and weren't even the biggest before this hit).  

Objective observer 17 April 20 09:21

In Singapore a number of the harneys lay offs were long serving senior counsel level lawyers and rumour is that harneys were total “ASSes” throughout the whole process. Unsurprisingly. 

Anonymous 17 April 20 09:28

They showed the door to people, including long serving senior level associates, on the Thursday before Easter and have been aggressive and awful about it.  Typical lack of class from this awful, awful place.  It does not come as a surprise to anyone given who is in charge of the Asia operations.  It's just a shame that nice people have had to suffer over their continual mismanagement and the partners all being happy to fly around the world business class at the drop of a hat for no real purpose.

Anonymous 17 April 20 09:56

From yet another Chairman Mann nonsense press release on 8 April, the day before they swung the axe:

Harneys’ Asia practice is known as one of the most dynamic and fastest growing offshore legal teams in the region. The firm’s three full-service offices across Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai represent the largest Asia network of any offshore law.

Harneys123 17 April 20 10:23

Yes - it was handled terribly to be honest. All firm conference call in Asia to be told your colleagues had been secretly axed, presumably via Zoom as we are doing split shifts in Asia. They still have personal effects at their desks. 

Then we get a long rambling cold heartless email from chairman telling us that more may be coming. 

And to top it off we are told they received their statutory notice period and accrued leave - duh, I should hope so. 

Survivor 17 April 20 11:02

Harneys has great form for using disasters to cull employees. They did it after hurricane Irma too and then told everyone they used it as an opportunity to clear out “dead wood”:

Heartless bastards. 

Concerned citizen 17 April 20 14:49

Does anyone know how they claim to advise on Bermuda law given they don’t have an office in Bermuda?

Bermudian 17 April 20 15:17

I wonder how many people will be let go from Harneys’ Bermuda office? Oh wait, they don’t actually have an office in Bermuda they just pretend they do on their website and letter head. What a bunch of ASS 

Concerned citizen 17 April 20 15:29

I was told that the firm refused to pay any redundancies despite terminating over 25 staff for “business reasons”. This is particularly horrendous given the guidelines prescribed by numerous governments in the wake of COVID-19 for employers to find other ways to address the situation through part-time work or reduced salary. Termination is supposed to be the last resort


Harneysology 17 April 20 17:16

Hang on, I thought you weren’t meant to get kicked out of a cult?! Don’t you have to escape?


Anonymous 17 April 20 17:34

What’s amazing about this cull is that some of the people they got rid of are actually very good, and yet some very well known muppets still seem to have jobs. 

Coronaharneys 17 April 20 17:44

Easily the most toxic place I’ve ever worked. It probably doesn’t feel like it now, but to those that have been pushed out the door you have been done a favour - trust me. 

Anon 18 April 20 15:04

A bit surprised Harneys needed to resort to redundancies given the insanely high turnover at the firm. Surely they could just wait a month?  Even one of the founding members of the ASS unit who arrived at the firm amidst much fanfare from Hog Love in May last year has already had the good sense to get the hell out of dodge... 

Central Planning Unit 20 April 20 15:50

Looks like some of the Offshore also rans are out in force.  Nothing better to do during quarantine measures?  Might try spending time with family instead of spreading the usual spiteful hate.  .  Good luck to you.

Anonymous 21 April 20 05:08

And yet here you are Central Planning Unit with nothing better to do yourself than post your own meaningless comment....

WTF 21 April 20 15:44

Central Planning Unit the only people spreading hate are the lockdown villains at Harneys who think it’s ok to mess with their employees lives during a pandemic or natural disaster to save their own asses. Or ass units. Pretty hateful. 

It also seems ROF’s naming and shaming had no impact on the consciences of the Harneys partners as the cull has spread to the Harneys Cayman office notwithstanding that the borders are shut and no one can get off the island. 

Independent bystander 22 April 20 17:46

I believe it was close to 35 in total which is quite shocking given the strong directives of various governments for employers not to fire staff.

But I guess this is just another example of Harneys partners acting in their own self interest



Man on the Clapham Omnibus 23 April 20 09:54

One thought is that perhaps they are taking the difficult decisions necessary to ensure that they maintain the cash flow of a viable business and thereby protecting the jobs of all of their many other employees.  It is a business after all so can we blame them if they look to preserve their bottom line?

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