Business of Law

Bingham McCutchen Plans to Open Centralized Admin Office at U of Kentucky Business Park

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Bingham McCutchen has become the latest major law firm to centralize its back-office legal services in a facility far from its expensive big-city attorney offices.

The 1,000-attorney firm announced Wednesday that it will be opening a 250-employee facility next year in Lexington, Ky., the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

Bingham said in a press release that it expects to offer relocation rather than layoffs to most of its current employees affected by the change.

“After 15 years of significant growth by combinations, we are consolidating our operations model to more efficiently support our lawyers around the world and, in turn, provide better service to our national and global client base,” said Chairman Jay Zimmerman in the release. It can be accessed from the law firm’s homepage.

He put it a little differently in comments to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, explaining: “Our industry remains under pressure in terms of pricing. “We think this will give us a significant competitive advantage over firms that haven’t done it.”

The law firm’s centralization of back-office legal services and quest for greater efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean having fewer people do more work, he pointed out. Having inherited a patchwork staffing system as a result of various law firm mergers, Bingham can expect its employees to do higher quality work in a single, cohesive operation.

It does, however, mean pay cuts for at least some relocated staff, despite what the Herald-Leader reports as an expected average hourly wage—including benefits—of $37.

“There is a local salary adjustment,” Zimmerman told the Wall Street Journal. “Otherwise, the only thing you would save on would be rent.”

The new facility is expected to open its doors in the spring at the University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Campus, in a business park. Moving in all of the law firm’s administrative operations may take another year.

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