International firm King & Wood Mallesons has yet to confirm reports that its junior lawyers are being allowed to complete their training contracts elsewhere, as partners continue to depart.
The European arm of the Asia-focused firm is on the brink of collapse and is set to go into administration next month. The firm has previously declined to comment on reports that a date of 16 January had been set for administration if no rescue emerges. The firm, which is around £30m in debt, has been courting takeover offers.
Reports today claimed that the firm’s trainees are being offered places on other training contracts including at Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Linklaters.
The Gazette has approached all three firms for comment. Clifford Chance and Linklaters declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Allen & Overy said: 'We have had numerous approaches in recent days from KWM's current and future trainees. We welcome applications from all these trainees to the extent that they need to complete their training contracts with us, and have contacted KWM to outline the various routes on offer.
'Any recruitment will be subject to a selection process, but we would like to try and support KWM trainees where possible.'
In a separate development, a six-partner real estate team from the firm joined international outfit DLA Piper while another six partners are set to join Greenberg Traurig. Various partners have already departed in the last few weeks.
KWM operates under a Swiss verein structure which allows firms to operate under the same brand name but as separate legal entities.
The China arm of KWM is currently in talks to buy out offices in Dubai, Germany, Italy and Spain. The China partnership is expected to pick up a significant number of staff.