Behind you, John!

After punking its own staff with fake pay rises, Knights’ struggle to convince staff that it has their best interests at heart was dealt another blow this week by the former Managing Partner of a firm it bought.

Knights purchased Baines Wilson in June, but it’s safe to say that founder John Wilson, who had moved out of management and was serving as a consultant at the time of the sale, wasn’t impressed with the deal.

In a LinkedIn post illustrated with a photo of Wilson at a Carlisle game, he explained that after finding out Knights was taking over his Cumbrian firm, “I immediately resigned from my consultancy role”. A ringing endorsement, if ever there was one.

“Whilst I know better than anyone how hard it is to run an independent law firm, I’m still very shocked and hugely disappointed that Baines Wilson has now ceased to exist as an independent business”, he said.

Wilson was even more shocked by what Knights did next: “I am particularly saddened that all the support staff have now been made redundant”, he said. Including his wife.

“Officially 'Compliance and Quality' has been her role over the last fifteen years or so but the truth is that she helped develop, and for me epitomised, our ethos and whole approach to business. Di was made redundant today”, wrote Wilson. “This is very much NOT how I hoped things would work out – but it has”. 

"So, end of an era for me but onwards and upwards, like CUFC! See me & my lads at Wembley! 
#business #people #lawfirm #community #grateful", he wrote.

The acquisition only completed on Monday, said a source: “First thing they do - lay all support people off. Nice touch”. 

Non-fee-earners at A&O and Shearman may be fearing similar ‘synergy savings’ if their merger goes through, but in these straitened times it was necessary at Knights. CEO David Beech was estimated to be worth a mere £130m when he floated the firm, and two years ago he raised just £61 million when he cashed in some of his shares. With the cost of living rising, it’s no wonder he needs to slash surplus bodies around the business.

In a statement to send shivers down the spines of business services staff working in the next firms which Knights targets for acquisition, a spokesperson for the company said, "As Knights has its existing support staff and infrastructure, there are typically duplicated roles across the support staff when acquisitions are made. As a result, there have been a number of redundancies amongst the support staff at Baines Wilson following its acquisition".

Presumably after realising that was a little too ice cold, the spokesperson then said the statement had been sent in error and provided a slightly less terrifying version: "All fee earners have been retained but due to the duplication of support staff roles, there has been a reduction in those roles following the acquisition".

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Tip Off ROF


Judas 09 June 23 09:54

Shame on those who sold their colleagues down the river by taking the Knights coin and lining their own pockets.


Cold dead eyes 09 June 23 10:16

How cold are the two statements released?  No sign of regret that people with kids and mortgages have been sacked.  

Those statements tell us everything we need to know.  Knights should be avoided like the plague.  

Here we go again 09 June 23 10:43

And so it begins.  Buy a law firm, sack the support staff, impose the dreadful culture, watch the clients and lawyers leave.  Rinse and repeat. 

Knights in shinings armours 09 June 23 11:12

Rumour has it Knights is set to acquire A&O Shearman. Baines Wilson is just the start of it.

Knights are not #oneteam 09 June 23 12:07

Awful culture and management at Knights, they do not care about any of their staff and treat them appallingly.  I wouldn't recommend working there to anybody and am only glad I left when I did...as for Mr and Mrs Beech, wow! 

Knights are not #oneteam 09 June 23 12:08

Awful culture and management at Knights, they do not care about any of their staff and treat them appallingly.  I wouldn't recommend working there to anybody and am only glad I left when I did...as for Mr and Mrs Beech, wow! 

Lemons 09 June 23 15:34

Wow! Individuals made redundant (or related to individuals made redundant) in bitter rant at old firm shocker!

Lemons comment 09 June 23 15:56

Or somebody with dignity and morals from a vastly superior by-gone era taking issue with the greed and unscrupulous behaviour of a vile individual? 

Just saying 09 June 23 16:29

Knights manage to keep the support staff that the sellers want them to. They get rebranded as compliance assistant or corporate admin etc but there’s a fair few knocking about. The BW sellers obviously didn’t look after Mrs W which is sad but it’s as much a them decision as it is a Knights’ one 

Not a fat cat 09 June 23 18:41

Knights…Greed is good, greed is right. On the day of the first lockdown was announced all Suport staff in my office were made redundant. 

Knight Rider 09 June 23 19:05

This happens at every acquisition - how did he think this would be any different? 

Shout out to my ex 09 June 23 20:20

You can’t treat your product (the lawyers) so badly and be shocked when you no longer have a product to sell. Weirdly enough, this has a direct impact on client service as well. The experiences a lot of people have had show it’s not a firm that cares about its legacy, which, for all the fault of LLP’s, at least they do.

I would give Knights about 10- 15 years. You can only hide your problems by buying firms for so long. Either the money will run out or the firms they need to buy will.

When that time comes, the quarterly growth will tank and I think we will see the name ‘Knights’ slapped on the end of another law firm’s name and then swiftly dropped like the golden turd it is. 

Anonymous 14 June 23 15:58

Owners take the cash and shaft the staff shocker.  There’ll be more that follow that path till the wheels come off.

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