12 March 2009

A transcript of a consultation meeting with DLA Piper's employee representatives has been leaked to RollOnFriday. And it is absolutely extraordinary.

They start off with London Managing Partner Catherine Usher complaining about confidential documents being leaked to the press and hoping that this will stop. Sorry to disappoint you again Catherine! 

There then follows an almost unbelievable dialogue, during which the employee representatives ask again and again why the firm is being so cheap with its redundancy package. They point out that if staff hadn't been so royally done over they wouldn't feel the need to go running to the press, that the firm has shown that it placed a lower value on its staff than other City outfits and that people may lose their homes. As one of the reps points out, "you asked us to ask our constituents to respect confidentiality and not leak to the press. After what you've said today about the package that's the last thing people will do. If anything it will increase the anger. To quote RollOnFriday, you are 'fisting' us, so why should we do anything you ask us?"

    How DLA staff feel 

None of this seemed particularly to bother the firm's management, which kept repeating that the decision to pay the statutory minimum had already been taken and was not up for discussion. Usher only got animated when one of the reps had the temerity to point out that departing equity partners could hardly be said to be sharing the pain of their associates given that they were given 12 months notice. She responded by trying to wind up the meeting.

It also transpires that the firm is trying to save some £12million in the UK, that no one knows what goes on in DLA Piper's US operations and that, according to Usher, "next week there's going to be an announcement of the largest global corporate failure". Any readers who know what this is, please write in.

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