Top-30 firm Wragge & Co has confirmed that up to 30 jobs could go after a review of its legal support services.
The announcement was made after the firm’s board proposed a new structure for back-office functions.
The new structure includes a changed PA role, plus document production centres and concierge hubs in each of the firm’s four legal groups.
It would involve the PA role becoming more focused on clients, business development and on project managing the requirements of partners and fee-earners.
A consultation has begun with PAs, secretaries and other administrative staff affected in the legal groups, heralding the reduction of up to 30 full-time equivalent roles.
Under the proposed structure, the new document production centres and concierge hubs will be managed by a third-party provider, Intelligent Offices. Support staff and members of the facilities team will transfer to Intelligent.
Managing partner Ian Metcalfe said: ‘Neither I nor the board have made these decisions lightly but we feel they are in the best long-term interests of our business.
‘We have to change how we operate if we are to remain competitive without compromising quality.’
Wragge & Co, which employs more than 1,000 people worldwide, is headquartered in the UK but has offices in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
According to annual benchmarking data from Winmark Research, 20% of law firms have outsourced such back-office functions, and a further 8% are actively planning to do so.
Richard Tromans, consultant at Jomati Consultants, told the Gazette: ‘These are the sorts of conversations partnerships are obliged to have. They are facing increased costs and, going by available figures for the first quarter of 2013, extremely low growth.
‘Cutting fee-earners would reduce firms’ ability to generate revenue, and they are wary about changes that directly affect the client experience. Depending on how they are done, in some cases, cost savings from outsourcing will not be great – but things are extremely tight.’