List A Barristers – which represents 50 Queen’s and Senior Counsel, and 78 commercial barristers in Victoria – emailed a warning on Tuesday to members advising them to be cautious in dealing with Slater & Gordon.
“I strongly recommend that if you have any unbilled work you have undertaken on instructions from Slater and Gordon, you prepare and send an account forthwith,” said David Andrews, List A Barristers senior clerk and executive director, according to the Herald Sun. “I recommend even more strongly that any new work offered to you by Slater and Gordon or ongoing work requested by the firm only be undertaken once we hold funds in OUR trust account,” he wrote in the email.
Andrews also said that it is “far preferable” that the organisation hold trust monies rather than Slater & Gordon doing so.
It its latest half-year results, the law firm posted a net loss after tax of $425.1m on the back of another write-down for the UK business that amounted to $350.3m. The firm had already written down $879.5m last fiscal year for the failed Quindell unit, which it acquired for $1.3bn two years ago. It also reported a net cash outflow of $11.4m for the first half of fiscal year 2017.
Slater & Gordon’s future now rests in the hands of lenders, as total debts currently exceed total assets by $126m. It is yet to finalise a recapitalisation plan with lenders, but the firm has given itself until the end of May to do so.
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Top barristers have been warned about Slater & Gordon’s fiscal problems and urged to either have the firm settle money owed, or only take on work if payment is already held in escrow.