British BigLaw Firm A&O Plans to Shift Back-Office & Legal Support Workers to Distant Location
In the latest signpost pointing the way toward a new approach to BigLaw practice that is rapidly gaining traction, a London-based international firm has announced it is shifting its back-office and legal support functions to a distant location.
Allen & Overy expects to have some 300 staffers working in Belfast, Ireland, by 2014 and will shift 180 workers there by this fall, reports Legal Week.
Announced to staff today, the initiative will involve a support services center handling the law firm’s internal work plus a legal services center that apparently will be performing some standard work for clients.
While it appears that staff layoffs could result, particularly if current staff are unwilling to make the move, no lawyers are expected to be let go. Any attorneys working at the new facility will be hired for those specific jobs, the article says.
“The reality is that the way global legal services are being delivered is changing. We have to meet that challenge and proactively offer increased efficiencies and alternative resourcing to our clients, but with the reassurance and quality they expect from A&O,” says Wim Dejonghe, the firm’s managing partner.
Other major law firms and corporate legal departments have previously announced similar initiatives: