London firms have told Lawyers Weekly this week that nationality played no role in their recent redundancy rounds, despite one Australian claiming she believes she was unfairly targeted as a foreign lawyer.
Last week, an Australian lawyer returning home after losing her job in London earlier this year, told Lawyers Weekly that she believes nationality may have played in a role in the firm determining who was at risk of redundancy.
The lawyer, who does not wish to be named, said it seemed "natural" that London law firms would seek to retain their local talent over foreign lawyers.
The Magic Circle law firms contacted by Lawyers Weekly denied the suggestion that nationality may have played a role in their redundancy rounds.
A London-based Allen & Overy spokesperson said that the criteria for selecting those at risk of redundancy canvassed a range of factors, including performance. "Nationality was not a factor," the spokesperson said. "A number of lawyers who left the firm as part of the restructuring exercise had, for a variety of personal reasons, elected for voluntary redundancy."
Clifford Chance was also adamant that workers being Australian never factored into the redundancy process. "In the UK, the firm went through a full collective consultation process that covered all of our London lawyers, with individuals at risk of redundancy identified through an objective set of criteria," a Clifford Chance spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Clifford Chance claims they still have a great number of Australian lawyers working exclusively across the firm. "These individuals continue to make an important contribution. Equally, Australia remains a key recruitment market for the firm and we do not expect that to change."
- Angela Priestley
Read more from on this story in this week's Lawyers Weekly.