The national law firm is believed to have made around 24 staff in its two largest offices redundant. All the staff that have been made redundant are below the partner level and include a mixture of lawyers and support staff.
“We have for some time been reviewing our structure in response to client and market requirements and best practice and more recently in light of the depressed economic climate in Australia,” the firm’s chief executive partner, Darryl McDonough (pictured), told Lawyers Weekly in a statement. “We have not replaced people who left the business and have reduced a very small number of roles within the business. We are not planning any further changes.”
McDonough, who has recently been in London, was not available to answer a number of questions put to him by Lawyers Weekly. These questions included whether the firm made the redundancies after there was a slow take-up rate on a voluntary redundancy program and the practice groups the redundancies occurred in.
Lawyers Weekly understands that the banking and financial services group was one practice area where staff were cut.
“These are not matters on which we comment in any detail out of respect for those affected by the decisions which have been taken,” said McDonough in the statement.
It is believed the lay-offs were restricted to Sydney and Melbourne.
The depressed Australian M&A and capital markets have adversely affected the revenue streams of a number of Australia’s largest law firms.
According to Mergermarket, deal value in Australia was down almost 44 per cent in the first three quarters of 2012 when compared to 2011.
Lawyers Weekly has been told that Clayton Utz is not the only prominent law firm that is making redundancies.
Senior management at large law firms are grappling with lower transaction group revenues while trying to placate the partnership base by attempting to ensure equity partners earn a figure comparable to budgetary forecasts.
Last week, DLA Piper announced that it was looking to shed 251 staff in the UK. The firm would not comment when approached by Lawyers Weekly about whether any redundancies were planned in Australia.