Partners of King & Wood Mallesons’ UK, Europe and Middle East offices have until 21 November 2016 to agree to stay with the firm for the next 12 months, in order for it to receive financial support from their China counterpart, in a deal presented by bosses Michael Cziesla and Tim Bednall. A vote will be taken by partners in a week’s time, while Global Managing partner, Stuart Fuller is due to step down from his position by the end of the year.
This ultimatum comes as a result of multiple shock resignations from senior partners, including Head of International Investment Funds, Michael Halford, and former Managing Partner Rob Day. The company currently holds a debt of up to £35 million, a total which had not been disclosed to partners until recently. While this sum is not believed to be unmanageable, an ex-partner said KWM has, “always been massively undercapitalised” due its very low contributions from partners. A number of sources are speculating the damage that KWM’s failure in Europe would have on the firm. Global Managing Partner, Stuart Fuller’s plans to pursue a US merger this year could likely falter depending on the outcome of the vote for China’s support.