Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has become the latest firm to be hit by the market downturn, with the Magic Circle firm Friday confirming it has been forced to make redundancies in its real estate department.
A handful of associates in Freshfields' real estate team have been laid off after a consultation at the firm which resulted in the restructuring of the practice. The numbers involved are not yet clear, but less than five lawyers in the firm's commercial property practice are thought to have lost their jobs so far. The practice currently has around eight partners and 20 associates.
Freshfields stressed that the departures were as a result of market conditions and were not reflective of the individuals' performance. Over recent months, the firm has moved a number of real estate fee earners around the firm and to different offices in an attempt to avoid having to make redundancies.
Freshfields London head Tim Jones said: "This is very much a 'last resort' measure. We have been trying to minimize the effects of the downturn in real estate, which of all of our markets has been hit the hardest, and for the most protracted period of time."
Freshfields is not alone in feeling the effects of the credit crunch, with real estate departments feeling the pinch at a number of firms. Earlier this month, London firm Field Fisher Waterhouse confirmed that it had kicked off a redundancy program, which is likely to see a number of property fee earners laid off.
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