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".