Details of KWM EUME administration bared in leaked email

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Details of the administration of King & Wood Mallesons’ Europe, UK and Middle East arm have been bared in a leaked email sent by managing partner Tim Bednall to staff.

In the email, which was published in full by Legal Week, Bednall, the former chairman of the Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, confirmed the appointment of administrators Tuesday, 17 January.

The appointment follows the finalisation of terms for the sale of almost all of the London and Cambridge practices, Bednall noted, including to the Chinese partnership of the KWM Verein which has established a new UK firm.

Bednall also confirmed that the administrators will be a team from Quantuma led by Andrew Hosking. The firm’s filing with the London High Court also names Sean Bucknall as joint administrator.

In a separate report, Legal Week said that joint administrators for King & Wood Mallesons EUME Services, the entity which holds the firm’s employees, are Hosking, Bucknall and fellow Quantuma partners Simon Bonney and Carl Jackson.

KWM EUME has ceased to operate and be a member of the KWM Verein, changing its name to QSP Residual Recoveries LLP.

“I am very sorry that it has finally come to this. I am particularly distressed by the fact that salaries were not able to be paid for the last two weeks, for reasons previously explained,” Bednall wrote. “I wish you well.”

The administration of KWM’s European arm follows failed attempts to secure a rescue package from the independent Australian and Chinese arms. A flood of partner transfers to other firms also sealed the fate of the partnership in the last few months.

All staff will be meeting with the administrators, who will advise continuing staff on salary payments and all staff on their redundancy and payments, Bednall said in his email. Administrators will also advise on the process for national insurance fund claims, access to the office and to emails.

As for active files, they have been or are in the process of being transferred to other firms, Bednall wrote. The firm is also settling billing, collection of remaining files and allocation of client monies among other things, he said.

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