National firm Parabis Group has put all 80 of its legal secretarial staff at risk of redundancy.
The company, part-owned by private equity investor Duke Street Capital, is looking to centralise its administration process work and has started a consultation to last until the end of this month.
But the group denied reports that fee-earners have left en masse for rival firms, with a spokesperson stressing there have been ‘no team departures’.
Parabis Group, which includes Plexus Law, Greenwoods and Cogent Law, has been changing its business model for some time, having closed offices in Bristol and Colchester last year and moving pre-litigation work to a base in South Africa. It is likely some typing-pool work will be outsourced but a ‘core’ of legal secretaries will remain in the UK.
In a statement, Parabis said the group has been undertaking a ‘significant restructuring’ of its business over the past 12 months, moving to a single system for financing, billing and IT.
‘As a part of this wider programme, Parabis is taking a detailed look at its support resources to ensure the correct alignment of skills to roles and responsibilities.
‘Where sensible, repeatable activities are being centralised to ensure maximum efficiency for our clients. As a result Parabis has embarked on a formal consultation with all 80 legal secretaries working for Parabis Law LLP at its offices throughout the UK.’
The statement added that until this formal 45-day consultation has been completed the firm cannot speculate about its outcome.
Parabis is thought to be looking more generally at headcount, from support staff to fee-earners. But the only significant change to fee-earner staff in recent months has been a team of 10 relocating from London to Parabis’ new Croydon office.
In December, Duke Street invested £13m into the Parabis Group business, to follow up its original £200m outlay in 2012.
The group has joint ventures under alternative business structures with insurers Direct Line and Saga.