Thirty fee earners under threat as Wragges announces job cuts
Birmingham leader Wragge & Co is to axe up to 30 fee earners, with the firm this week announcing the start of a 30-day redundancy consultation. The redundancies are likely to affect 30 fee earners across the firm's London and Birmingham offices, with support staff and secretaries escaping the job losses.Wragges' 178-fee earner real estate group - the largest of the firm's practice groups - is likely to be most affected. Wragges senior partner Quentin Poole said: "It has not been an easy decision, but market conditions have led to a decrease in activity, particularly in real estate. We have to keep the size and shape of the firm under review."The consultation makes Wragges the latest in a stream of UK law firms to announce job losses. Eversheds launched a consultation earlier this month that could see 33 real estate lawyers made redundant, with the firm following in the footsteps of other national players such as Bevan Brittan, Dickinson Dees and Shoosmiths.However, Wragges' redundancies are notable because for a firm with only 632 fee earners in total, the redundancy programme is larger than many of its rivals. The losses also follow a strong financial year for Wragges, which announced an 11.5% increase in turnover for 2007-08 to reach £125.5m, while profits per equity partner jumped by more than 15% to hit £483,000. Cobbetts managing partner Michael Shaw told Legal Week: "As I would expect, Wragges is being upfront about the state of the market, doing what many regional firms have been doing clandestinely."A partner at a rival firm said: "Numbers-wise, the news came as a big surprise. They must have had more of an exposure to residential than anyone thought."News of Wragges' redundancies emerged only days after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer became the first magic circle law firm to lay-off UK lawyers. Fewer than five lawyers in the City commercial property practice are thought to have lost their jobs.
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