International firm Dentons has opened a redundancy consultation which could affect up to 24 fee earners – but says job losses should be limited by the creation of ‘virtual roles’.

The firm said Covid-19 had accelerated its digital strategy and it is looking to create a ‘small number’ of non office-based roles in its energy, transport and infrastructure and non-contentious construction practices. Other jobs will be relocated to Scotland.

Dentons said it is reviewing its approach to salaries for virtual roles, to ensure that they are ‘fair and equitable’. It did not provide details on whether the content of the jobs themselves would change.

A consultation exercise has also begun, with up to 24 roles across London, Milton Keynes and Glasgow potentially affected. Dentons said it hopes that the number of redundancies will be ‘significantly reduced’ by the creation of virtual roles.

In July, Dentons announced the closure of two UK offices to cater for full-time remote working and shrink its real estate footprint. Offices in Aberdeen and Watford are to be vacated with all partners and employees continuing with remote working arrangements.

Lisa Sewell, managing director for the UK and Middle East, said: 'Many of the trends that are transforming the legal industry have accelerated during the pandemic, so standing still is not an option. The success of remote working during lockdown prompted us to think about what we can learn from this. Whilst we firmly believe the physical office will remain a key part of our business, we have also recognised the opportunity to flex our traditional model by vacating our premises in Aberdeen and Watford, with our colleagues from these offices continuing with their remote working arrangements’

Dentons is also reviewing its business support and secretarial teams, looking at how and where it delivers business services. The outcome of the review will be announced in the new year. The firm did not say whether jobs were at risk.

Sewell said: ‘This review is about responding to client pricing pressures by operating more efficient end-to-end business services, simplifying the client journey from first call right through to the conclusion of each matter. At the end of this process our ultimate goal is to have the right roles doing the right things in the right places.'