City firms have endured mixed fortunes this week, with commercial law specialist BLM announcing over 70 job cuts, while Ashurst reinstates salary reviews and pushes ahead with partner promotions.
After entering a redundancy consultation with its legal support and corporate services team in August, BLM has revealed that 71 staff members have lost their jobs.
Matthew Harrington, senior partner, said: ‘For many years we have been clear in our strategy to become a digital first business, driven by a commitment to working collaboratively, supporting clients and ensuring we have the right processes and technology for our colleagues to work in an agile way.
‘Whilst this strategy has been a focus for many years, the impact of a pandemic in accelerating these plans and transforming the way we work is something we could not have fully anticipated. As such, we have taken important steps to make sure our business is fit for the future.’
Harrington thanked affected staff during this ‘very difficult period’. The firm announced in August that it was closing two UK offices in a move to full-time remote working. BLM will not renew its leases in Bristol and Leeds, which expire in November and March respectively.
BLM promoted 12 of its associates to partner earlier this month.
Meanwhile, international firm Ashurst will reinstate salary reviews from 1 November and will roll out its second tranche of bonuses. Pay rises were suspended in April and bonuses were split into two tranches in a series of cash saving measures.
Partners are also expected to receive their monthly drawings in full by the end of the year, after sums were cut by 20% in the spring. Some 15 partners were appointed globally earlier this month, including four in the UK, after the firm delayed its promotion round by six months.
Taylor Wessing has also pressed ahead with promotions, with five lawyers in the UK selected to join the partnership, up from three last year. All promotions will take effect from 1 November 2020.