"I'll just have to type out this electronic mail myself"

Gateley and Squire Patton Boggs are making secretaries and business support staff redundant.

“We can confirm that we are currently carrying out a very small-scale restructuring which impacts some secretarial and business support team roles," a Gatelely spokeswoman told RollOnFriday. The spokeswoman would not say how many staff were affected as "the process is still taking place"; but said the cuts would not "impact on any of our fee earning roles". 

Support staff at the firm were informed by management that the new norm of "working from home" was the reason for the cull, an insider told RollOnFriday. Gateley's spokeswoman said the decision was "necessary to react and adapt to the change in working practices which have evolved in our business and all other professional services businesses over the last few months and which will continue to evolve."

In April this year, Gateley cut pay to 85% and delayed the qualification date for its NQs. The firm has now reinstated full pay, starting from this month. And the NQs pushed-back start date, also commenced this month, with the firm posting a decent trainee retention rate of 89%. The listed firm recently announced a 6% increase in revenue to £110m in the year to 30 April 2020. So, it's mixed fortunes at the firm, with cuts at one end for secretaries and business support staff, but things looking rosier for the firm's lawyers. 

Squire Patton Boggs is also wielding the axe, with secretaries being chopped. “We have made 19 administrative roles redundant across our four UK offices following a consultation announced earlier this year," said a spokesman for the firm. He also alluded to remote working as a reason, saying: "In many ways the pandemic has changed the way we work, resulting in new working protocols and increased efficiencies." 

"It is a difficult decision any time you part ways with a colleague and we offered enhanced packages to those impacted,” said the spokesman.

SPB and Gately are not the only firms to cite the advent of WFH as a reason for making cuts to PA and business support teams.

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Not a happy bunny 13 November 20 10:18

Shame that the Gateley cuts (which were 80% initially and have only in the last 2 months been increased to the princely sum of 85%) were sold (read "enforced") to the foot soldiers on the basis that it would preserve jobs...demonstrative of the pi$$ being taken by the higher ups.



Anon33 13 November 20 10:44

Agree that some redundancies are necessary - in my experience they were necessary before Covid - lots of poor support being provided by “PAs” who know how to use a computer but have very little understanding of what their role actually is.  Most management appear happy to let these people carry on doing a bad job and instead of dealing with them they put pressure on those who do a good job and just pile more and more on - no need to blame Covid for finally running your business as a business.  Work processes have changed - everyone is being more efficient in my experience which definitely means more allocations easily manageable by support staff.  Not a popular opinion no doubt but it’s a business - PAs need to realize they need to add value and not just show up...and yes....I am one.   

StalinPattonBoggs 13 November 20 15:39

It’s not just support staff at SPB London unfortunately. The Great Covid Purge includes fee earners and partners who were bumped off over the past six months and often vanished without a trace. Stealth layoffs they call them.

Report 13 November 20 23:35

KIRKLAND & ELLIS is cutting staff and fee earners too and using stealth layoffs to do it! 

Kirkland & Ellis = Stealth Layoffs





Anon 14 November 20 11:27

Gately always makes me think if British Leyland - dunno why and sure as hell the shop floor don’t call the shots. Can’t believe they haven’t taken the opportunity to “cut costs” among prof staff as well as support? Can we hear from Gately bods pls?

Toby Greenlord, Freeman on the Land 15 November 20 00:03

It's not about working from home.

It's because there's a legacy clause in some Squire Patton Boggs contracts where Business Services staff will be paid more if there images are ever used on stamps.

They don't want to take the risk.

Harry Potter 15 November 20 12:06

It never ceases to amaze me how the gang of 5-6 who have run Gateley for their own benefit for the past 20 years or so manage to get away with it. For years they have been plundering profits which are disproportionate for bang average mid-tier mid-market firm like Gateley. They then managed to pull off a massive confidence trick by duping the partnership into agreeing to the Plc business model which overnight meant they trousered millions each thereby effectively releasing their equity at a stroke. They persuaded the partners to accept profits capped at a maximum of £130k in return for Monopoly money in the form of shares and share options the value of which are subject to the vagaries of the market. They have also managed to fool staff into agreeing to a share save arrangement whereby the staff hand back a percentage of their hard earned cash in return for shares which ultimately might turn out to be worthless. In order to demonstrate growth to the market and return dividends to investors at the expense of paying market rate to fee earners Gateley have acquired all manner of obscure bolt on non legal businesses the latest being the Vinden Partnership who are quantity surveyors and project managers? Rumour has it that all isn’t well with that particular acquisition with Vinden complaining about lack of promised bonuses. These cuts are nothing to do with COVID/home working and everything to do with the unquenchable greed and money fixation of the gang of 5-6 and their desire to maintain their exorbitant financial expectations and return dividends to investors at the expense of fee earners and hard working staff who have been duped into signing up to the Plc model and the obvious conflict it creates between keeping investors and staff happy. It is all going to end badly as and when the gang of 5-6 finally decide they have squeezed as much cash as they feel they need from the business and decide to call it a day as the succession planning at Gateley is non-existent. 

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