International firm Hogan Lovells today signalled that around 90 staff will have to move out of its London office. The firm announced an expansion of its global business services centre in Johannesburg and of its Birmingham office following a review of its UK operation.

The move will result in 78 business services roles and 12 legal support roles being removed from the London office, with new roles created in Johannesburg or Birmingham.

Consultation began today with London staff who are affected and whose roles are likely to move.

Deputy chief executive David Hudd said: ‘This is part of our strategy to evolve our firm so it continues to meet our business needs as well as those of our clients in a rapidly changing and highly competitive market. We are fully committed to ensuring that our people are treated fairly and are fully supported throughout this process.’

Around 110 people are employed in the Johannesburg centre in areas including finance, marketing and business development and technology. The Birmingham office currently has around 70 staff.

The firm says the relocations reflect the ‘changing shape’ of the UK legal market with emphasis more on innovation and efficient business and legal support services.

The firm already has a business services centre in Louisville, Kentucky, and sees this changes as the ‘logical next step’.

UK and Africa regional managing partner Susan Bright added: ‘Since opening our Birmingham office we have built a consistently profitable and strong qualified lawyer and paralegal capability, handling increasingly complex cross-jurisdictional corporate and commercial, litigation, real estate, and real estate finance. This step involves us expanding Birmingham to provide an alternative UK base for business services.’