LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer chief executive Ted Burke revealed today that the magic circle firm spent £24m in severance payments to departing partners last year during the firmwide restructuring named ‘Size and Shape’, The Lawyer reports.
During the ongoing hearing of former insolvency partner Peter Bloxham, Burke told the employment tribunal that the firm had allocated the money as costs for the 2006-07 financial year. The £23.914m went to around 25 departing partners of all ages, the tribunal heard, at an average of 40 partner points each. In 2006-07 one partner point was equal to £22,000. In total, Freshfields spent £55m on the restructuring that culled more than 100 partners from the equity, as first reported by The Lawyer (21 May).
Burke was the last witness called by Freshfields as the respondant in the hearing, which is examining Bloxham’s claims of age discrimination arising out of the firm’s controversial pension reforms. He is claiming £4.5m.
Under cross-examination by Tim Pitt-Payne of 11KBW, Burke said that, by September 2006, a consultancy offer to Bloxham was conditional on his dropping any age discrimination claims against Freshfields.