The future of international firm King & Wood Mallesons is hanging in the balance, with takeover bids reportedly failing and discussions taking place on the future of trainees.
In a statement, the Asia-focused firm said all of its London-based lawyers have been ‘updated regarding the future of the practice’.
Details of the update are confidential, the firm added.
According to some reports several takeover bids, confirmed by the firm last week, have failed. But KWM has dismissed that suggestion and said talks are continuing with a ‘small number of parties’.
‘We are not able to comment further until those discussions have been concluded,’ it added. The firm says its London office has more than 90 partners and 400 lawyers.
Firms including Reed Smith and Mayer Brown are thought to be in talks with several KWM partners about lateral moves, with Reed Smith reportedly keen on head of tax Gareth Amdor and members of his team.
The firm is also examining the possibility of transferring training contracts to other law firms.
Earlier this year, the Gazette reported that KWM would be cutting 15% of partners in its Europe and Middle East practice. The firm, which has been struggling for some months, is around £30m in debt.
There were hopes that the Chinese arm of the business might bail out the European and Middle East arm. That option foundered last month however, leaving a rescue merger as only viable remaining option.