A&O boss vows to limit job cuts as firm transfers support function to Belfast

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  • Considering most of the staff are from London and wouldn't move to Northern Ireland then it's easy to see what they are doing. Most of the staff will be made redundant and A&O will recruit in NI. Here we see another example of poor American organisational planning. Some of the IT rolls are quite specialised and they will not be able to service A&O lawyers as well. God help the CEO when they loose big clients because their IT goes down or worse is hacked.

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  • Baker & McKenzie seem to manage to have a fully-functioning IT function without it breaking down all the time - and their entire back office is in Manilla!

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  • Dejonghe says cutting costs is not the main driver for this. So what is his point? That northshoring to Belfast guarantees better quality than offshoring to India? Or is the reality that it is actually cheaper to open in Belfast than start from scratch in India. Plus, if they follow Herbies, salaries will start at a base of £10 an hour. So to say it is not about cost cutting is ridiculous, just be open about it and tell us how you plan to pass any cost savings onto the client.

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  • A brilliant idea.....Belfast is a wonderful place (been there on holiday a few times) house prices are cheaper, schools are better and the overall quality of life much better than London......I for one am looking forward to re-locating

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  • Sure, clients vigorously want A&O to open up in Belfast. Another obvious redundancy program without having the balls to be honest about it.

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  • They've already said that costs will be cut. It's no surprise really - makes business sense. I'd expect more firms to follow suit.

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  • Anonymous@ 10:54 am - Why do cost savings have to be passed on the client? Why can't a firm keep them for themselves? There are plenty of pressures from clients to drive fees down. Firms are perfectly entitled to make costs savings. One could argue that the more profitable a firm is, the better able it is to attract top talent.

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  • A&O are no doubt well aware that NI lawyers will flock to them despite the inevitably miniscule salary (Herbert Smith are paying less than a cleaner gets) as there's nothing else going except unpaid training contracts, unpaid NQ roles, 10k a year conveyancing paralegal roles or the dole.

    @Anonymous | 3-Feb-2011 11:10 am, house prices are, a bit, lower but that's offset by the fact that salaries, especially in the legal sector, are much lower.

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  • How is this not a cost saving exercise? If it's not then what can justify uprouting staff or making them redundant. I would always think that a better service is provided with the support staff functions onsite rather than moving them to a different country. This cycle of change constantly happens and then services are brought back in because it doesn't work.

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  • Cutting costs is not the main driver, MY ASS. A&O always used to be transparent about this sort of thing, but this is a new low. How do they think they can get away with presenting the Belfast office as some wonderful life opportunity for librarians and legal excecs? It's all about the bottom line, stoopid.

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  • The comment 'Some of the IT rolls are quite specialised and they will not be able to service A&O lawyers as well. God help the CEO when they loose big clients because their IT goes down or worse is hacked' is patronising, bordering on offensive.
    Northern Ireland produces exceptional IT graduates who often have to move to London to find suitable employment. Also, with one of the best broadband infrastructures in the world, connectivity is not a problem.

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  • Opening a new office in Belfast as part of the companies growth plan. Total pants. They have put some of their support staff in London through hoops of fire in the past few years and haven't even completed the last restructure of communications before deciding that a Northern Ireland voice is better for the client (or should we say cheaper) than a London voice.
    Gone will be the halycyon days of calling A&O and getting those clipped London tones and speedy answers, and in comes accents we will struggle with, they will struggle with - how does that improve client satisfaction. Mind you it could have been worse - Allen & Overy in Mumbai tones.....
    Come on A&O be upfront.

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  • Document Production in Bishops Square were their usual helpful, competent selves last night. Gonna miss 'em when they're replaced by someone who's been in the job 5 minutes and is still trying to learn their way around the systems.

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  • @ IHateBPP- not you again. bleat bleat bleat. just noise

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  • Of course it's a cost savings exercise - and they've even put a number out there (10m in 5 years?). I presume their point is that they could have saved a shed-load more by heading to India or wherever. Belfast is a pretty good call on balance - if you have to do it at all.
    Who will be next?

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  • Completely agree with above. Since when is 10m in 5 years (and presumably more per annum after that) not a significant amount to save?
    I think the point is that savings are a part of the thinking but that if it was just about getting these services as cheap as possible then other options were available. c/f Camerons/Integreon for example

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  • ALL I WANT TO SAY IS THAT
    THEY DONT REALLY CARE
    ABOUT US

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  • @Jonny:
    There are already plenty of Northern Irish and Indian employees at A&O. Harking after times gone past when they wouldn't have been considered for a position is bordering on a different R-word.

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  • "Gone will be the halycyon days of calling A&O and getting those clipped London tones and speedy answers, and in comes accents we will struggle with, they will struggle with - how does that improve client satisfaction."
    A surprisingly valid point, it's very true that the English (although I don't know why) do struggle to understand the accent of many NI people, lawyers or otherwise, and especially those from more rural areas. A&O will certainly struggle to find their beloved public school accents in Belfast.

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  • @Jonny Monroe
    "...in comes accents we will struggle with, they will struggle with".
    Yes people in Belfast communicate through a series of grunts and snorts, only comprehensible by their own kind.
    *rolls eyes*

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