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Mallesons announces redundancies

Mallesons announces redundancies

Mallesons Stephen Jaques has today announced a voluntary redundancy program.

MALLESONS Stephen Jaques has today announced a voluntary redundancy program. 

In a letter to all Mallesons staff today, chief executive partner, Robert Milliner, said "this step is not taken lightly", and that it follows a board meeting earlier this month to review the firm's forecast for the next 24 months. 

"During this meeting, there were detailed discussions about the available options to best address the matching of workflow trends with the firm’s capability and capacity and a decision was taken to offer voluntary redundancies in August 2009."

The program is open across all offices, Milliner said, and to permanent employees only. The firm expects to accept voluntary redundancies for about 100 members of staff, or about 5 per cent of the workforce. 

The firm is not disclosing which positions are ultimately accepted for a voluntary redundancy, and Milliner noted that not everyone who puts their hand up for redundancy will have it accepted. 

The move is a "responsible approach" to balance the firms workflows and the number of lawyers and support staff, Milliner said, speaking on behalf of all partners. 

"It will help ensure that the firm is well positioned to adapt to the difficult market conditions ahead.

Offering a Voluntary Redundancy Program is consistent with the practices of a number of major professional services firms in the market and many of our clients," he said. 

The firm and its partners have already worked to avoid the inevitable, Milliner said. 

"To date, we have undertaken a number of initiatives to manage lower work levels with the same number of lawyers, including reducing annual leave balances, encouraging more staff to take up 48/52 swap pay for leave and increasing secondments and internal transfers. While we have had a positive response to these initiatives, more now needs to be done, given that the downturn is expected to continue well into 2010/11," he said. 

Milliner said that work is not evenly spread over all practice areas and centres and the economic outlook, "despite contradictory reports, is set to remain subdued with flatter conditions in the legal market". 

"In these circumstances, even the strongest firms in the marketplace must adapt themselves.

We are no different," he said. 

Milliner noted that the news will be "unsettling" for some of the employees, as well as a challenging time for some practice teams and centres. 

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