BLP confirms 102 legal and secretary layoffs as 84% take voluntary offer

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has cut all of the 102 jobs which it placed under review back in May, with 58 legal staff and 44 secretarial staff laid off.

The redundancy programme, which was announced on 14 May, lasted for 45 days, and saw 84% of those laid off take voluntary redundancy.

The review also included further redundancies in business services, the exact number of which the firm was not able to confirm, except to specify that it had made a 15% reduction in total salary costs.

A partner within the firm said: “The voluntary redundancy package was very generous, you could say life-changing – one person has gone on to set up their own business. Almost all of the people who have left have new jobs to go to – others have moved from working full-time to part-time and some will work in Lawyers on Demand.”

It is understood that a significant number of the lawyer redundancies were senior associates. Certain practice areas within the firm are now in the process of recruiting junior associates and partners.

According to Legal Week‘s top 50 survey for 2011-12, BLP had 670 lawyers at the end of April 2012 – meaning that the cuts equate to around 9% of lawyer numbers.

Job cuts have swept through the UK legal market in recent months, with Legal Week research finding that around half of the country’s 50 largest law firms have announced cuts over the past year. More than 1,300 jobs have been put at risk across 20 top 50 UK firms since the start of the 2012-13 financial year, with around 750 positions cut to date.

Elite US law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges also announced last month that it is set to cut around 170 jobs in a major round of layoffs affecting both lawyers and support staff.