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King & Wood Mallesons LLP will finally file for administration today, The Lawyer has learned.
All of the firm’s remaining assets and control of the business will now transfer to Quantuma administrator Andrew Hosking.
Hosking has appointed a number of advisers to the administration process which have been approved by KWM lender Barclays. The advisers are CMS Cameron McKenna partner Rita Lowe, who famously advised on the Dewey & LaBoeuf administration, Pinsent Masons partner Steve Cottee, and Ashfords, which is providing regulatory advice. Ashfords head of financial risk Sam Palmer has been appointed solicitor manager to the administration.
Hosking will attempt to repay some of KWM’s substantial debts in the UK and Europe, including its £35m loan from Barclays.
The LLP is expected to cease trading immediately after Hosking is appointed this afternoon.
Staff who will remain at the firm while transfers of people and documents take place are expected to move out of 10 Queen Street Place and into new, smaller premises imminently.
KWM first filed its notice of intention to appoint administrators on 22 December, and renewed it last week to buy itself more time to sell off parts of the business.
A number of teams, including trainees, associates and support staff, have been sold off by KWM managing partner Tim Bednall to other firms in recent weeks.
Goodwin Procter took a 26-strong team last week. Other groups have moved to DLA Piper and Reed Smith, with more set to move to Macfarlanes, Covington & Burling and Keystone Law.
KWM China is understood to have bought out between 30 and 40 lawyers across the UK, Europe and Middle East. The Dubai team includes SJ Berwin lifer and former head of litigation Tim Taylor QC.
Last week Bednall broke the news to all remaining employees that it would not be able to pay salaries owed for January after Barclays rejected a call for extra funds from the firm.
On the same day KWM’s former administrators AlixPartners pulled out of the administration, with the firm instead turning to Hosking.
In total, more than 40 partners left KWM across the UK, Europe and Middle East in the last two months of 2016 as the LLP’s finances reached crisis point and an administration became inevitable. Around 90 partners left the firm in total over 2016.
How the story unfolded:
27 Oct: KWM’s recapitalisation scheme stumbles and four stars quit
28 Oct: Exclusive: KWM former managing partner Day heads for Proskauer
10 Nov: KWM global boss Fuller steps down
11 Nov: KWM China bail-out: Partners have a week to agree to 12-month lock-in
18 Nov: Dewey administrator adviser drafted in on KWM rescue deal
22 Nov: KWM China bail out fails and EUME arm moots merger plan
7 Dec: Exclusive: Barclays takes extra lawyer of security over KWM assets
12 Dec: KWM tells staff it cannot guarantee wage payments after January
13 Dec: It’s over: KWM partners told that takeover deals have failed
22 Dec: KWM LLP files notice of intention to appoint administrators
10 Jan: Exclusive: Barclays tells KWM to cancel all salaries with immediate effect
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