A&O and Herbies share £3m of public funding for Belfast launches

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  • Cairo? Lucky escape there ay?

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  • Great to see our taxes being so well spent!!
    Pass the champers Rodders!!

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  • I am shocked and ashamed by this. There was a time when you could take pride in being a member of a magic or silver circle firm. These days are clearly over. Greedy scum of the earth

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  • Wonderful, not only do these firms get away with the PR spin that they are only 'relocating people' when in reality it means London staff are going to lose their jobs - these firms are getting Government funding - part of our taxes - to sack these people.
    This means, via the Government, we are paying A&O and Herbies lawyers to sack employees, who we will now have to pay benefits for as well, as there are no jobs out there.
    Even better, the firms say this is nothing about cost-saving. Wow, and I thought the Halliwells scandal was bad public relations. This makes Ian Austin look like a Saint. Keep it up Wim.

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  • Great! We, the taxpayers of the UK, have just handed
    £13 500 to EACH London based partner of Allen & Overy in order to make their business more 'efficient' and thus more capable of making additional profits that will be paid to the PARTNERS OF ALLEN & OVERY. I know the bankers have taken most of the flack of late but for every dodgy deal done there is ALWAYS a lawyer in the background making the docs look good. Time for the partners at Allen & Overy to make a LARGE charitable contribution me thinks?

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  • Not quite sure what to think of this, a little too messy if you ask me.

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  • Sounds to me like Invest NI is gambling a bit on A&O not managing to persuade its staff to move - how many jobs will really be filled by Northern Irish people and how many by Londoners moving?

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  • First Vodafone doesn't avoids billions in taxes, and now A&O takes a handout from the government to move jobs from London to Belfast. There is something rotten in the City when a rich firm trousers yet more cash to make its London workers redundant. But it's all ok, 'cause we all live in a global economy, right?

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  • Its so easy to jump on the band wagon and cry 'tax payers' money!! But, Northern Ireland is country which went through considerable rejuvenation during the Nighties boom years and an area which will be hit hard by the cuts imposed on us by this government.
    Such initiatives by regional development agencies are intended to keep jobs in the region, help it to thrive and stop it from slipping into the depths of recession, stop the brain drain and help the region to flourish.
    If my RDA in the South West made some efforts to attract decent employers like these firms I think it would help keep young people in the region by offering them opportunities to progress in areas outside the usual low paid trade of tourism.
    So its £3m and the firms could afford it themselves, so what? This is an investment in the future of the country, one that could have been made by the firm without this incentive but one which probably would never have been made without it.

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  • To Anonymous | 4-Feb-2011 2:35 pm:
    Sorry but I don't like my taxes being used to prop up regions which don't manage to generate business on their own.
    Successive governments have been trucking other people's money into Northern Ireland for generations and it hasn't made a jot of difference.

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  • Wake up - just about every government around the world will offer investment incentives to entice decent employers and viable businesses to invest in their patch rather than someone elses. If a one-off £3m keeps all these jobs in the UK rather than India then it's a fair deal. And if that in turn entices more businesses to invest there rather than heading east then it starts to look like an astute investment.

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  • Governments incentivise business to help economies grow.
    How do they do that? They spend taxpayers' money because that is how everything is paid for.
    It's an investment and, possibly, a very good one for e city that will benefit from having an extra couple of hundred jobs created.
    Yes, A&O probably don't need the money, but then businesses that get tax breaks for coming to the UK probably don't need those either.
    It's pretty basic free-market capitalism, something which I'd have thought most readers of The Lawyer would understand.

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  • Having originally applied for one of the Belfast roles at Herbert Smith, I was shocked at the salary they were offering. With these subsidies they are going to have hardly any salary outlay for the first year.

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  • @Thomas Hobbes
    First, don't be such a patronising tw*t, yes readers of the Lawyer do understand how capitalism works.
    Second, you are forgetting the reason why people are getting angry here - this is about a firm sacking dozens of loyal staff not because they have failed, not because the firm is under threat, but because the partners want to boost PEP just a tiny bit more, while giving clients the spin about having made an effort to reduce costs - even though overall fees to clients will stay the same - or rise.
    The whole process of gettting Government money just makes it worse. And as to creating jobs - that is bonkers - they are sacking people in London to hire the same number of people in NI. What good does that do the national economy? All it does it mess up a lot of people's lives.

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  • £3 million is just recompense if seen in the light of 40 years of spectacular underinvestment in the region (Derry for example is the only city (technically) in the UK with no motorway connections) and the associated oppression of almost 50% of the indigenous population by the British state.

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  • Rousseau - I agree completely that people should be angry about staff losing their jobs while partners count their millions.
    I think the way plenty of firms run their businesses is despicable in many ways and this is another example of it.
    My only point was that it's missing the issue by a long way if you are going to get your knickers in a twist about tax money going to A&O - it's classic Daily Mail knee-jerkism.
    And apologies for the patronising tone. Not intentioned

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  • @ Rousseau | 4-Feb-2011 3:16 pm - hear! hear!
    these are not high-end jobs that are being created, they are non-strategic support roles with a handful of commoditised legal roles to boot. They are not going to be super well-paid and hence making major contributions into the consumer economy. I'm all for government incentives to economic development, but why on earth does it have to go to a £1bn City business that has plenty of spare cash? What about investment in local SMEs or indeed social enterprises instead of the bloody fat cats?

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  • @Terry Silver - please keep your antiquated provincial political views out of a serious debate about an issue that clearly affects many peoples lives

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  • To Belfast exile | 4-Feb-2011 2:49 pm
    "Sorry but I don't like my taxes being used to prop up regions which don't manage to generate business on their own. "
    Erm, excuse me but doesn't the City of London prop up most of the country? Wasn't that the reason we have enjoyed a boom bust?
    lawyers like you are looking after their own, which is what everyone here is complaining about A&O doing.

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  • With revenues of £1 billion a year - I wonder how much A&O pays in tax a year? Probably a shed load more than the £2.5m they've been offered.
    Guess that means you don't have to worry about it being your tax money then...

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  • Hmm, what a perverse world we live in. Labour gets trashed for diverting public spending to poorer parts of the country to create jobs, but when drippingly-rich businesses cream a few badly-needed millions from the public purse to do it, it's good old-fashioned capitalism at work.
    I'm not usually one of those "think of how many nurses..." people, and this wouldn't pay for many, but when I read of Citizens' Advice Bureaux, youth clubs and rural transport networks closing down, this kind of thing really makes me wonder about what kind of country we live in.
    As Rousseau and Voltaire (love it!) point out, this is subsidising business cost-cutting, not stimulating growth in any meaningful sense.

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  • "(Derry for example is the only city (technically) in the UK with no motorway connections)"
    Er, St David's? Elgin? Bangor? Ely? Brighton? Armagh? Newry? Norwich? Inverness? Etc. etc.

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  • @Anonymous | 4-Feb-2011 4:07 pm
    And just how much of the firm's revenues are managed through "tax-efficient" arrangements? My guess is not an insignificant amount

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  • I wouldn't be so opposed to these Belfast sausage factories if they were actually offering a realistic career path of any kind. Instead, as many people have pointed out, the salaries are rock bottom and the opportunities to progess are non-existent. These offices are very analogous to a certain blue NI conveyancing factory.

    As for spending the salary locally, once taxes, student debt and travel costs are paid there won't be much of that ten grand a year to go around.

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  • Herbert Smith's recruitment ads proclaimed "invest in yourself", seems like they don't want to follow their own advice.

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  • The management at A&O have sold their soul for a fistful of dollars - what are they going to sell for a few dollars more? I think it's time the fat cats had a heart attack - if this goes on there will be an uprising.

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  • So now they have launched the new "brand" and spent thousands promoting it and training London staff in all the ins and outs they're outsourcing to Belfast - nice one. Note to all BS staff - "go the extra mile" -you'll be rewarded with redundancy.

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  • How very sad that a firm such as A&O that once had such high principles when it came to looking after its staff,now sees fit to betray people who have given years of hard work, loyalty and expertise for the sake of adding couple or so thousand to the pockets of those who may not even notice that it's there.

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  • Money well spent! Much better than funding LSC help for benefits scroungers and so called "disableds".

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  • Oh dear, this is a bit of a mess. Are our PR people on strike? Are we northshoring them as well? Somebody please do something!

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  • When A&O and Herbies let a tax-payer-pound subsidy influence their location/recruitment decisions they cease to be a businessman's choice of legal advisor. These days there is better value to be found in the niche practices set up by ex-City partners in Mayfair, Belgravia etc with their web of connections. And for the ubergeldesladen there is the 'floating' practice moored off Monte Carlo! (Is it true that the SRA licensed it?!)

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  • They are just greedy corporate ass*s who are getting rid of some very loyal workers in return for what they call "saving the business a few million" (in the short term) some of these staff have worked at A&O for over 15 years and more - I know because I am one of these "expendables" who will be looking for work come autumn. They make me sick.

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  • "Sounds to me like Invest NI is gambling a bit on A&O not managing to persuade its staff to move"
    Gambling? Who on earth wants to move to NI?

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  • This would be funny if it weren't so serious. Quite why highly profitable businesses need a subsidy for this is hard to fathom. Why not apply a means test as with other state benefits? it is highly likely there are millions of additional profit that both firms could achieve through some minor changes in working practices and no one would have to work a 'unit' longer. Perhas the partners involved are secretly bankers at heart and feel a sense of entitlement.

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  • @Ashley Balls | 11-Feb-2011 0:35 am
    At least the banks who opened up offices in Belfast offer salaries that are above the national minimum wage.

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  • You really don't like Herbert Smith, do you hate IHateBPP? I've seen quite a few posts by you about their Belfast Office on a couple of websites.

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  • @Anonymous | 11-Feb-2011 3:23 pm
    It's nothing personal, I just find that the salaries they're offering and their spin doctoring of their new offices are offensive to any right thinking person.

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