Slater and Gordon kicks off strategic review of UK operations as Quindell fallout continues

Slater and Gordon is carrying out a strategic review of its UK business legal services function, as it continues to feel the ramifications of its ill-fated 2015 acquisition of insurance company Quindell’s professional services arm.

According to its website, the firm has 42 lawyers in its business legal services team, which offers advice on employment, dispute resolution, professional conduct issues, regulatory compliance, commercial property and regulatory defence matters.

Last week, RollOnFriday reported that the firm is making “dozens of its UK lawyers redundant”, although a spokesperson declined to comment.

Slater and Gordon – which in 2007 became the first ever law firm to go public when it listed on the Australia Stock Exchange – entered the UK market in 2012 with the £53.8m takeover of personal injury firm Russell Jones & Walker.

This was followed by a flurry of acquisitions, culminating in the £637m Quindell deal. However, the firm has since been beset by difficulties, and in February this year significantly wrote down the value of its UK business, announcing a A$350.3m (£212m) “impairment charge”.

The firm has already reduced UK headcount by 20% and closed 18 of its 48 offices.

A spokesperson for Slater and Gordon said: “As part of a wider strategic review of the services we offer, we are looking at the best way forward for our Business Legal Services team. We are looking at a range of options and will announce any decisions we make to our colleagues and clients in the first instance.”

This June, it was reported that Slater and Gordon’s lenders would take control of the firm as part of a recapitalisation plan that will result in the firm’s entire board being replaced, with firmwide managing director Andrew Grech stepping down with immediate effect.

Shortly after the Quindell deal was announced in March 2015, the insurance company was placed under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over its previous accounting practices. This June, Slaters served a £600m claim against Watchstone Group – Quindell’s new identity – over the deal.