King & Wood Mallesons is being investigated for overworking its lawyers during the banking royal commission

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  • Worksafe Victoria is investigating a complaint of overwork at law firm King & Wood Mallesons.
  • The complaint is understood to be linked to work for clients called before the financial services royal commission.
  • The royal commission has been a fee windfall for both the legal industry and for professional services firms.

King & Wood Mallesons, the top end of town law firm, is under investigation by WorkSafe for overworking staff to meet deadlines during the financial services royal commission.

The investigation was launched after a complaint about employee fatigue at the firm’s Melbourne office.

Mallesons’ clients at the royal commission include AMP, Suncorp, Youi and IOOF during the commission hearings.

A report in the Australian Financial Review said: “A source said KWM graduates were subjected to gruelling conditions, with some employees choosing to sleep at the firm’s Melbourne office rather than return home.

“Day and night shifts were allocated, so work could continue around the clock.”

Berkeley Cox, Chief Executive Partner at Mallesons, confirmed the firm received an Improvement Notice from Worksafe Victoria in relation to the management of employee fatigue in high pressure situations.

“We take the safety and well-being of our people very seriously,” says Cox.

“We have specific processes to respond to workload demands and support employee wellbeing.

“We are actively looking at what else we can do to support our people working in high pressure situations.”

The royal commission has been a fee windfall for both the legal industry and for professional services firms, with the banks and others spending hundreds of millions on preparing for hearings.

The ANZ Bank earlier this week booked legal fee expenses of $55 million related to the financial services royal commission.

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