2 BigLaw firms offer voluntary separation packages to staff members as part of reorganization
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Staff members at Reed Smith and Fox Rothschild have been offered voluntary separation packages that appear to be part of a BigLaw trend to reduce and reorganize support personnel.
“After 15 months of working remotely,” Law.com reports, “law firms are coming to terms with how overstaffed their support teams are, leading to an industrywide effort to reduce the quantity of personnel handling support functions and organize them into teams handling firmwide administrative duties.”
Mark Santiago, a partner at law firm consulting company SB2 Consultants, told Law.com that the BigLaw trend is to allocate more specialized work to legal secretaries and other support needs to practice assistants.
Law.com cited Fox Rothschild’s new professional support staffing model as an example. About 300 legal assistants at the firm most affected by the changes were offered voluntary separation packages last month, Law.com previously reported.
Secretaries at the law firm will now be organized into firmwide support teams, rather than assigned to office-specific practice groups. An attorney resource center comprising former administrative legal assistants will handle more generalized tasks for lawyers with less specialized support needs.
“It’s not a one-to-one relationship anymore; it’s more based on the work,” Jean Durling, Fox Rothschild’s chief talent officer, told Law.com.
Reed Smith is offering voluntary separation packages to its U.K. and U.S. legal secretaries, Law.com reported in another story. Secretaries who remain will move into a new executive assistant position that will involve working with a large number of lawyers.
“We believe the executive assistant role will provide our lawyers with a personalized support experience that best suits their needs while the EA will be able to tap specialists to help handle a host of daily tasks, making the entire process highly efficient,” Nick Bagiatis, Reed Smith’s chief operating officer, told Law.com.