The law firm announced a redundancy consultation involving staff across all its 13 offices. The announcement is likely to result in the loss of the roles split, more or less evenly, between lawyers and support workers.
Although Freeths has witnessed significant growth over the last five years and achieved a target of £100m in turnover in the 2019/20 financial year, this necessitated, ‘recruitment ahead of need’, in order to cope with anticipated work demands and the reversal of this trend, brought about by the coronavirus crisis has, inevitably occasioned over-capacity.
In the light of a cautious analysis on the prospects for the UK’s economic recovery, the Freeth’s board has come to the conclusion that a major realignment of resources is essential.
Chairman Colin Flanagan said: “I am greatly saddened and disappointed that, as a result of external circumstances beyond our control, we are going to lose some of our excellent team members. We have worked hard to build an exciting law firm with real momentum and one which truly values its people. It is a matter of huge regret that we are faced with some contraction in our work for the first time since the financial crisis, and that we find ourselves needing to reduce our staff numbers. I am, however, confident that this action is in the interests of the business and our clients and will allow us to move forward with renewed confidence for a successful future.”
Company Chairman, Colin Flanagan, made the announcement in an email to the workforce, and was followed immediately by video conferences with the staff council and with staff members potentially affected.
The meetings will set out a number of alternatives, such as paid sabbaticals or reduced hours, which the law firm hopes will cut down the number any redundancies implemented.
The announcement follows on from measures taken by the firm previously in response to the continuing situation including; suspension of partner distributions and a reduction in monthly drawings, alongside board members taking pay cut of 30%.
Staff also agreed to a temporary reduction in salary which runs through until August.
Freeths has been holding staff council meetings on a twice-weekly basis throughout the crisis, and the council has been given with updates regularly on the progress of the business, including detailed financial information.
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