Australia, China partnerships push KWM hardship fund past £100,000

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King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) Australia and China partnerships have stepped up to help some former members of the firm’s failed European arm.

Former Europe, UK, and Middle East (EUME) partners contributed around £50,000 to a hardship fund established earlier this year, while Australia and China joined forces for a matching joint contribution, reported Legal Week. The “undue hardship fund,” set up by former EUME managing partner Tim Bednall, was formed to support past members of EUME business who are having trouble.

It was revealed in February that Bednall emailed European partners in the months before the business’ collapse to ask for contributions. In May, it was revealed Bednall asked for contributions of £1,000 to up to £2,500.

About 20 beneficiaries received payments from the fund last week. Though payments have been made, the fund is still open to contributions.

The beneficiaries are former employees who were on or were due to start maternity leave, were caring for ill dependents or were ill themselves, or were unable to line up new work when the partnership went under.

KWM recently appointed its first EUME managing partner since the collapse of the legacy SJ Berwin business, which it merged into the firm in 2013. It selected Wang Rongkang, who is relocating from China to London.

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