The European arm of King & Wood Mallesons will file for administration today. The firm is expected to appoint restructuring and recovery boutique Quantuma following several days of speculation about when administrators would be appointed.
A string of departures has beset the firm in recent weeks. Numerous prominent partners have departed and the firm has also cancelled all of its trainees’ contracts.
Several firms are thought to be helping with the search to get trainees new roles, with Goodwin Proctor and Allen & Overy among the names to have offered trainees a position.
KWM is a recent creation. Hong-based King & Wood joined forces with Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques to create King & Wood Mallesons in 2012. The following year the Asia focused firm merged with UK firm SJ Berwin in a Swiss verein structure.
One former partner told the Gazette the firm become dependent on funds management and private equity and ‘began to lose its way’ when such work declined in volume.
‘There was a big cull in the spring [of 2016] where a lot of very high billing partners left…it seemed as though the firm was saying that people simply made too much money.’