Australia-listed firm is effectively being run to get its banks their money back.

Slater and Gordon stands on a precipice.

One only needs to look at p11 of a gruesome financial results statement for the second half of 2015.

There you will find confirmation that the S+G group has agreed to present to its lenders and their financial advisers proposals for how this business is going to turn itself around.

In the event that amendments required by the lenders - NAB and Westpac - are not implemented by 30 April, repayment of outstanding loans will be brought forward to 31 March 2017. In other words, the business is at the mercy of its banks; which today led some business commentators to call for the heads of the MD and chairman. 'In normal circumstances [Andrew Grech and John Skippen] would today be leaving the company after blowing about A$1bn in the UK,' declares the Australian Financial Review.

The scale of reliance on lenders is huge: as of 31 December the group had drawings of £400m under its syndicated group facility. There is just £35m headroom left. Net debt has increased by £61m in six months.

Sadly, good lawyers are going to lose their jobs

Discussion about mistakes (big, Quindell-shaped mistakes) will have to wait for another day: the only thing the company can do for now is to act fast to stop this contagion spreading. There is simply no way the spiralling share price (down 30% today) and mounting debts can be allowed to continue.

Offices will inevitably close in the coming months, with the development of specialist hubs for the three strands of law the firm wants to continue in the UK. Sadly, good lawyers are going to lose their jobs.

Moreover, it's going to be a tall order for a watered-down business to deliver the sort of results needed to revive the company. The idea that income from personal injury claims, at a time when the UK government has them firmly in its sights, will keep the lenders happy is optimistic.

Still, the shares still have some real value - which suggests the markets think a deal can be done - but this will require deeply invasive surgery. And if the operation fails, one of the great pioneers of legal business could become one of its biggest ever casualties. 

John Hyde is Gazette deputy news editor