Secretarial roles at law firms. How it used to look (circa 2015).
Clyde & Co has commenced a redundancy consultation with 40 UK secretarial roles at risk. An internal Clydes' email seen by RollOnFriday suggested that the "restructuring" was in the pipeline pre-Covid and "proposed last year at the partners' meeting" as part of a "broader strategy" to "improve and modernise a number of functions".
The 40 potentially impacted roles are out of a total of 235 UK secretaries at the firm. An insider told RollOnFriday that Clydes is also adding 15 new secretarial roles, so the cuts will equate to a 25 person net loss. However, there is no guarantee that the impacted staff will be offered the newly-created roles; as the firm will advertise those jobs externally as well as internally, RollOnFriday understands.
The firm is also in consultation talks with another 10 staff across various business service departments, plus two fee-earners. Unlike the secretarial redundancies, these cuts have been blamed on "the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its impact", according to the internal Clydes email, which explained "there has been significant variation between practices and groups, with some growing strongly and others facing a more constrained period."
“We can confirm that there is currently a consultation process taking place among our UK secretarial community as part of changes we're making to improve and modernise our secretarial provision in the UK," a Clyde & Co spokesman said of the cuts. "We are mindful that this is a difficult time for the individuals involved and we are supporting them through the process. As it is an ongoing process, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."
The spokesman added: "We can confirm that in addition there are a number of other small, discrete and unrelated consultation processes taking place across the firm."
CMS is also understood to be making cuts. An insider has told RollOnFriday that the firm is starting redundancy talks with affected employees including business support services staff and lawyers in its Technology Media and Communications team.
The source said to RollOnFriday that CMS "is in a very good position and will be giving bonuses, so why are they making people redundant in the middle of a pandemic just before Christmas?"
CMS declined to comment. If you're impacted or know the number of staff impacted, do get in touch.
Secretarial and business support teams at other firms have also been having a rough time of it, lately.
Take the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2021 Survey: