Law firm Hammonds is promising to fight back after a year of financial muddle.
It insists the business is sound despite a delayed audit, the loss of equity partners and a strategic review.
And it is promising to restore profitability this financial year and says it is still recruiting.
There have been a string of problems.
There was a £1.6 billion write-off of fees billed to Customs & Excise, 16 equity partners quit reducing the level of expected profit, and there were 60 redundancies including 16 in the Birmingham office.
Equity partners were prevailed on to accept a so-called "lock-in" where all but one, who had already put in his resignation, agreed to stick with the firm for 14 months until July next year.
And, because of the Customs & Excise blow and the lower profitability levels, the 80 equity partners have been required to pay back some £3.5 million - around £44,000 each - taken out in drawings.
In addition, this year's results have been delayed because Hammonds has changed auditors to PricewaterhouseCoopers in preparation to move to limited liability status sometime in the future.
Turnover is likely to remain static at last year ' s £136 million and profit per equity partner will be down - some believe by as much as 25 per cent to around £200,000.
The lawyers are not exactly on the poverty line, but it has been a painful year.
Ian Forrest, head of the Birmingham office, insists all is not bleak.
He said: "If things had been bad we would have battered down the hatches, and we have not.
"We are still recruiting. We have an extremely good, strong business."
He says the firm has had to take "a one-off hit" but is merely suffering "a glitch".
Mr Forrest says it is being put on an even keen and promises: "Profitability will be restored."
But he accepts that fee income will be flat across the board including Birmingham.
He denies there was any one reason why so many equity partners left, saying some went for offers they could not refuse, others for personal reasons.
However, he acknowledges there has been some " disaffection for whatever reason" and personality clashes. The firm, he points out, has grown out of all recognition to what it was, with offices across the country and internationally.
That is why Hammonds has brought in consultants to carry out a strategic review.
It is expected to look at markets, clients and where the firm should be going.
The Birmingham office will produce a turnover figure of around £22 million, but, says Mr Forrest, the first two months of the current financial year have been "extremely good".
He says Birmingham already has a cohesive strategy centred around targets, cross-selling and partners sharing information.
"We have got the partners in place to ratchet things up and move on," said Mr Forrest.
Recent lateral hires have included Peter McLintock, head of corporate, who came from Wragge & Co, Martin Letza, also a corporate finance partner, from Eversheds, Rob Jones, a tax partner, from Eversheds, Ann Benzimra, head of commercial dispute resolution, from Wragge, and Sukh Ahark, a banking partner, from Pinsent Mason.
Hammonds is looking to recruit in property, corporate finance and pensions.
The office totals 240 staff including ten equity partner and 14 fixed share equity partners.
And Mr Forrest accepts that financial improvements have to be made to make opportunities for the young guns coming through.
Asked how he compared the Birmingham office to local rivals, he acknowledged that Wragge was well out in front. But, he said, the firm had the capability to be regarded on a par with the likes of Eversheds and Pinsents.
Some people would agree with him; others not.