Slater and Gordon legal chief quits after two months

Topics: Alternative business structures,In-house

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The Slater and Gordon group general counsel Moana Weir has left her post less than two months after taking up the position.

The listed Australian firm confirmed her resignation in an announcement to the stock exchange last Thursday.

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Weir (pictured) had only joined as group general counsel and company secretary at the end of January this year, following her predecessor Kirsten Morrison’s relocation to the UK.

Slater and Gordon gave no reason for her resignation, and wished her ‘the best in future endeavours’. Bryce Houghton, group chief financial officer, will be appointed company secretary, while an external adviser will step in to the general counsel role while the firm is ‘reassessing its business needs’.

The resignation comes at a time when the firm is trying to put together a business plan to secure its future.

According to its financial results published last month, the company agreed to deliver an operating plan and restructure proposal to its banking syndicate and financial advisers by the end of this month.

Agreement will then be reached as to amendments, if any, which may be needed to the loan by 30 April. The banks can call in outstanding debts by 31 March 2017 if no agreement is reached.

A spokesman for Slater and Gordon told the Gazette last week there was no update on the reorganisation of the business and its possible effect on staff numbers and offices.

The firm, which employs around 3,800 people in this country, has previously stated the majority of its 27 UK locations will stay open, but it will put in place plans to operate centres of excellence in fast-track personal injury, specialist personal injury and general law services.

The company’s share price, already the subject of two possible class actions from shareholders in Australia, has fallen in value by around 95% in the last year, from a high last April of A$8 to just A$0.235 today. Earlier this month the value fell to a 12-month low of less than 28 cents.

Readers' comments (40)

  • One wonders what she found...

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  • @Anonymous29 March 2016 07:34 pm:

    Where did you copy this article from?

    The Pink Paper?

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  • "....The recent travails at Slater & Gordon have raised once more the question of a big firm collapsing, but the SRA has not commented on this beyond saying: “Slater & Gordon is part of our regulatory management programme and we are in contact with the firm on a very regular basis. As a regulator, any of our discussions with a firm are focused on protecting the interests of clients.” ..."

    I think someone quoted the FT as asking the question what happened when a major "Law" "Firm" went bust.

    Well it looks like we will now know.

    And we will know whether the SCT's pockets are big enough, for it is the SCT that I suspect that will be the softest underbelly. ....

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  • SCF rather .... Doh Duff Beer !!!

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  • We hope it will survive because there are a lot of good people who were members of long-established and respected firms there.

    But whatever happens, I do not presently see any particular reason to fear that this might cost the contributors to the Compensation Fund a lot of money, or indeed any money. First there has to be a liability. Secondly, the Fund is there, broadly, to cover dishonesty (but not generally if there is at least one honest principal who would be entitled to indemnity from insurers) or failure to account. See SRA Compensation Fund Rules 2011 http://goo.gl/rfzyW1.

    In answer to Anonymous 29 March 2016 10:48 pm as to the source of the article quoted by Anonymous 29 March 2016 07:34 pm (not me), the article appears in The Australian.

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  • Thanks for that correction, Frank.

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  • The writing was on the wall the moment a law firm was allowed to list on public exchanges. The fundamental and unavoidable conflict of interest at the heart of the S&G model should never ever have been sanctioned. What followed was almost inevitable, although, they outdid themselves with Quindell.

    Such a shame for all the staff!

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  • THE SRA must act now and break up the UK operation to avoid a fiasco.

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  • When they talk of operating a centre of excellence, do they manage to keep a straight face?

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  • Talk of the SCF demonstrates just how little some people know. This has nothing to do with the Compensation Fund, yet these posters feel it necessary to give us their "wisdom" on matters about which they clearly have no knowledge.

    The story here is surely "why did she quit after only two months?".

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