DLA Piper has announced a new round of job cuts in the Middle East, with an undisclosed number of its lawyers and staff also now heading for Australia.
DLA Piper is cutting nine per cent of its Middle East-based staff as part of a massive restructuring. The cuts are on top of two other rounds of job cuts earlier this year.
The firm has announced that this month 17 jobs would go from its network of Gulf offices, including 7 lawyers and 10 support staff, The Lawyer reports.
According to reports, a number of people will be also be relocating to the firm's Australian alliance partner DLA Phillips Fox.
DLA Phillips Fox has not confirmed or denied these reports before The New Lawyer went to press.
DLA Phillips Fox has already announced it has selected DLA Piper's managing partner in Dubai as its new chief executive. Tony Holland will replace outgoing Tony Crawford in February 2010. Holland is currently regional head of finance for the Middle East at DLA Piper.
A spokesperson for the firm told The Lawyer that the fact that some employees would be heading over to Australia's DLA Phillips Fox is "an indication of how well the two businesses work together".
The news follows a recent slowdown in the the Dubai legal market, which DLA Piper admitted to this year. The firm made eight associated redundant in its Dubai office earlier this year, Legal Week reported, amounting to about eight per cent of its associate roster there.
The firm also placed 20 per cent of the remaining Dubai-based lawyers on either a six-month sabbatical or a secondment, JD Journal reported at the time. It reported those taking "sabbatical" were not guaranteed a job at the end of it.
In June, DLA Piper made another 22 positions redundant in its Middle East offices, one third of those from the Dubai office.
The overall redundancies result in a year-on-year headcount drop of 39 per cent.
The recent announcement from Dubai that the state-owned Dubai World was requesting creditors agree to a six-month moratorium on the repayment of its debts.
Dubai World's $US60 billion of borrowings are not guaranteed by the government, which said creditors would have to accept responsibility for their own judgments in lending to the group.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum told reporters that Dubai is still in good shape and would not be derailed by the debt restructuring that is now taking place at Dubai World.