Outsourcing providers say they are experiencing a wave of interest from law firms looking to transfer the employment of back-office staff.
Intelligent Office, which earlier this month announced it was working with top-30 firm Wragge & Co to review its services, said this week it is in ‘active discussions’ with a dozen more firms.
Meanwhile, third-party provider Integreon announced a three-year contract with national firm Kennedys to run library and information services. Integreon will provide Kennedys with a central enquiry desk, legal and business research services, and library management.
Margaret McPherson, chairman of Intelligent Office, said there was ‘great appetite’ among leading firms to cut costs through outsourcing.
‘The coin has flipped in the last 18 months. Up to two years ago we were making the approaches and marketing to firms, trying to get them to understand. That has changed.’
The agreement with Wragges puts up to 30 people at risk of redundancy as secretarial pools are centralised.
McPherson said that transferring support staff to an external agent would involve a change of behaviour among fee-earners as well as possible job losses.
‘For the staff that transfer, it’s a big change as they come to work for us. They have been used to working in the same way for decades in some cases.’
Fee-earners also have to work differently, she said. ‘They have been used to dictating with a secretary beside them, and if we centralise that, instructions have to be explained so work can be picked up by a number of people.’