Birmingham law firm Anthony Collins has cut about 20 jobs from its city centre base, after becoming what could be one of the last victims of last year’s ‘white-collar recession’.

The Edmund Street firm – which is one of the best-known firms in the city centre, and was a major winner at last year’s Birmingham Law Society legal awards – made the cuts after what was a difficult year for the legal industry.

It said it had been forced into the move by the recession.

Several firms in Birmingham have cut jobs or chosen to defer taking on trainees as their balance sheets have been hit by the contraction in the economy.

Anthony Collins is a niche practice firm specialising in social housing, charity, and community regeneration work. It is based in the heart of Birmingham’s financial district.

It employs about 300 people, with 21 partners and a total of 117 other fee-earners, according to the latest Legal500 survey of the sector

A spokesman for Anthony Collins said: “We are one of the last law firms to undergo a redundancy programme. Clearly no one likes doing this, but we have to maintain ourselves as a sustainable business in what are pressing times for everybody. We have been able to focus this regrettable exercise on fewer than twenty junior and administrative posts that do not impact on our delivery of frontline services to clients and are providing outplacement support to help them find new positions.”

At the legal awards held by the Birmingham Law Society last year, the firm’s employees won three of the eight awards.

Peter Hubbard was named commercial solicitor of the year, Gemma Bell was named trainee solicitor of the year, and Alexandra Loxton was named legal executive of the year.

Recently, it has been involved in one of the most high-profile inquests in the country, representing the family of David Gray, who died following an overdose administered by an overseas doctor during an out-of-hours visit.

There was a lot of talk about a ‘white-collar recession’ a year ago, with professionals being unusually badly hit in terms of redundancies by the financial downturn.

But since then, and particularly in the West Midlands, the losses have largely been found in traditional blue-collar manufacturing jobs.