Lawyers will have to be flexible about moving between practice areas and will have the opportunity to snap up a redundancy package as part of a new program coming into effect at Allens Arthur Robinson.
As reported by The New Lawyer earlier today, large Australian law firm Allens has announced it is implementing a pay freeze for all employees from 1 July this year as a response to the global financial downturn.
Chief executive partner Michael Rose is today giving staff in Allens’ Brisbane office the news, having this week conducted a series of face-to-face meetings in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.
Staff were not shocked by the news, Rose said. "We employ smart people and smart people realise these are sensible steps to take in the current environment."
"We have predicted, and been preparing for, a downturn in the legal services market," Rose said.
"In the past week I've been visiting all of our Australian offices and talking to our people about what's happening in the wider community, the legal services market and our firm," he said.
The firm's long term plan and the values that drive it are not being affected, Rose said.
Rose stressed the firm would not be implementing a firm-wide redundancy programme, but can put their hand up for redundancy. Legal staff have been informed that they will have to be flexible about moving from quiet practice areas into busier ones as needed.
"As part of that approach to flexibility we've also reemphasised existing policies around flexible working, purchased annual leave and career breaks."
No target redundancy numbers have been firmed up by the firm, and Rose said he would not be talking publicly about specific details. "The policies have all be carefully considered and are designed to give both staff and the firm flexibility in terms of responding to the global financial downturn," he said.
The changes would place the firm in a better position to deal with the economy in the long term, Rose said. "These steps are not about enhancing short-term profitability."