Camerons battles backlash from controversial outsourcing deal

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  • Too late, son. The CVs went out to recruiters last week.

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  • Maybe we could work for Cameorns on Mon, Wed and Fri and Integreon on Tues and Thurs. Problem solved! Lol loooool looooooooooooooool (wheeze) lol.

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  • Duncan - are you going to take the hit for this one? Or are you going to throw Wright under the bus?

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  • So the new business model seems to shaping up nicely:
    1. Destroy morale
    2. Back peddle furiously
    3. Wipe egg of face
    4. Er, aplogise?

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  • The article suggests that they are only now consulting with staff; if this is true then what a mess!
    Surely early consultation had to play a major part in this if it was to work?
    Damage limitation at this point is too late, their reputation as a employer is in tatters!

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  • Cameron's management team : toothless, worthless, spinelss, useless. But we knew that before all of this happened.

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  • This is all so sad. I worked at Camerons from 2004 to 2007 before joining a larger firm. So many times I tell people that Camerons may have been smaller, but they were far better managed and treated their staff much, much better. It really was a great place to work. I trusted our management, we always heard things about the business, even if it was bad, and had as close a family situation as you could get in a law firm. Now it seems new management has wrecked it. What went so wrong? Profit used to be going up up up. Is there a correlation now with the new management of profits going down down down? Maybe it is a lesson in how to treat people and communicate with them tied to profits?

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  • With no offence intended, the job market in London tends to be tight and you often pay over the odds for "less able" employees (basic supply and demand), as anybody remotely competent can find a better paid job at your competitors. London (and maybe the SE) is quite unique in this regard. The rest of the UK being quite the opposite. It seems quite reasonable for a firm to outsource this “balance of power” issue to an external firm – let the wage inflation be their problem.

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  • I see that when it was a great initiaitive, Duncan's face is all over the article. Now the sh*t has started to hit the fan he's nowhere to be seen. Nice touch. Richard Price, looks like you're going to have to do more than 1 extra year as senior partner to sort this out. How you booked in 2012?

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  • So firstly our redundancy policy was cut in half although ' no redunancies were planned'. Redundancies followed within 3 months then the flex salary reductions were made to secure the long-term futures of staff and the firm. And within 12 months half of those staff are up for transfer/redundancy. Can I propose that the Firm broadens it offer of services to:

    Law.Tax. Lies.

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  • I have to respond to Anonymous | 24-May-2010 1:05 pm.
    I truly hope that as soon as you pressed "submit" you regretted it. Do you really see this as an issue of "supply and demand, "a balance of power" difficulty or a "wage inflation problem"? Where for God's sake is your humanity? We are talking about human beings, hard-working and once loyal and dedicated to a firm which not long ago seemed to have a sensitive moral compass. These are not figures on a profit and loss account; they are not numbers on a list. They are real people who are angry, disappointed and fearful of being sacrificed in the greedy pursuit of evermore more profit per point.
    When will Cameron's wake up to the terrifying prospect of a senior partner very soon having to admit that its greatest asset is no longer its people, but its outsourcing contract? Before it's too late?

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  • Does anyone honestly join a firm and think that they are not dispensable. It's 2010. You're working in the City of London is one of the most rapacious, capitalistic envionments in the world. Surprise, surprise - the firm wants to save a few quid. Deal with it or move on you whingers.

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  • It is one of the most rapacious capitalistic environments in the world because of morons like you. If you don't like hearing our 'whinging' why are you even reading our comments, let alone going to the trouble to write uninteresting and unconstructive responses? Why don't you go and do something better with your time. Oh, that's right, you haven't got anything better to do. Shame! - nice way to lead your life.

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  • Ease off and have a heart "Camerons Staff - Toughen Up", the 80's have gone, and you're mild Gordon Gekko attitude is bordering on ridiculous!
    P.S. Lunch is for Wimps!

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  • I agree with the message on toughen up. Job for life is a mirage even in the most socialist, protectionist environments. Do people really expect that in the City of London?

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  • No regrets.
    The regions suffer chronic unemployment, there are plenty of unemployed and perfectly able people outside of the SE region (which incidentally drives down wages).
    Firms can employ people at a fraction of the cost, yet like lemmings most firms flock to London, without clear advantage or reason for it. Same goes for the Government who seem to only instruct London based firms.
    The SE region gets a disproportionate amount of Government investment and projects, and then they wonder why growth is concentrated in the SE.
    Act like lemmings and soon you will find a cliff to fall off.

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  • As I dragged myself into CMS today feeling totally let down and unmotivated, I realised that after 20 years working for a 'prestigious city law firm', come October I, if not made redundant, will be working for a 'foreign service provider'!! Good career path I thought!!! Myself and my long-term colleagues have been loyal through the difficult times, put in extra hours and as they asked 'gone that extra mile'. For what, so that they can get fatter wallets while us 'mere back office staff' get sold down the river to some company who when telling us one of their buzz words is 'SMILE' (Spread Magic and Love Everywhere) couldn't even remember what it stood for!!!!!

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  • That's fine, 'Toughen Up', but the problem Camerons faces is that it doesn't offer the pay, prestige, work/life balance or quality work to counterbalance the impact of the change in attitude.
    The poster who worked there between 2004-7 summed it up well in my opinion: used to be a great place to work but the question is why you would choose to work there now that it's both well off the MC in terms of prestige/quality of work but also not a brilliant place to work.
    I honestly believed that it was one of the City's best-kept secrets up until about 12-18 months ago as the work and pay are decent but it was relatively relaxed and collegiate. That's gone now so its 'USP' has gone too.
    Weston came in promising to push the firm to the next level in terms of prestige and profitability, and you never know what the next few years will bring, but the transition from cuddly also-ran to Silver Circle contender isn't an easy one and people will get bruised along the way. The question is whether he can get things moving before the better people all leave!

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  • Camerons Staff - Toughen Up: No, nobody thinks they are indispensable and I am sure people would have floated their CV's around and would land in better jobs, worser jobs, similar jobs etc.,
    What is a problem is, it is not only going to affect the employees but the employer as well. It is a mutual relationship, you do not honor it, the people who come in as part of Integreon will work dispassionately.
    Yes, the work gets done for a cheaper rate but not real, good, high quality.
    I am presuming that you are sitting outside and as the classic quote goes - "It is recession as long as it does not affect me, but it becomes depression the moment my job is at stake!" is why you are able to pass on a different perspective than the so-called-whiners.
    A couple of questions -
    Integreon is a 200M company and how come CMCK award them 600M contract? Is this a JV? If so, is CMCK losing so much on their legal advice business that they are hoping on getting revenue through these means?

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  • CMS CAMERON MCKENNA what a joke asked staff to take flex saying it was an investment in the company! the support staff did this at personal sacrifice and now we are told that it was not an investment. after loosing 20% of our pay we are then shiped out so that they can protect their profits!
    This is pure greed and insensitive in the present climate! I bet there will be no pay rise or bonus this year until the move to integron goes ahead!

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  • The move was planned 18 months ago to out source their staff, they then had the nerve to ask us to take flex even though they had planned to outsource the staff!
    I feel betrayed!

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  • The most surprising aspect of this deal is not necessarily that Camerons have considered making changes to their existing structure but the way that this has thus far been approached.
    Issuing a press release that details the specific value of the agreed deal but with the caveat that this is contingent on a full review of the support structure being completed, seems to betray a very muddled communication plan which was always going to do little to re-assure those potentially affected. Whilst the headline story talks of 10-15% savings per annum it is difficult to see how these can be achieved if the firm does not already have a clear picture of what their support services will look like in the future. It remains to be seen how successful this agreement is for Camerons in the longer term but if they lose good staff, particularly from core departments like Finance, HR and Business Development, before the transfer to Integreon, then this can only hurt the firm in the short to medium term.

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  • Camerons employees - if it's really such a bad place to work then surely you should be glad of the opportunity to work for a fast-growing multi-national firm with all the opportunities it may bring? It does sound like there's some pretty awful jargon/Americanisms with Integreon but once you're past those you may just find the future looks a whole load brighter.

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  • You clearly have never worked in a contractor environment. It doesn't work as it is impossible to serve two masters. The conflict of interest between service delivery to the client and profit generating for the guys that actually pay you at the end of the month is sufficient to compromise the quality and effectiveness of service. If you don't believe it ask anyone that has been unfortunate enough to have to call a IT helpdesk in Chennai.....

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  • Rather than outsourcing, why has no law firm considered moving its back office out of London/South East to the north. Plenty of talented people looking for jobs, and easy cost savings of 20-25%.

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  • It is now 2010. Outsourcing has been an integral part of the business world, as opposed to the legal world for many years now.
    10 years ago this month I was working with a Financial Institution which outsourced much of its back office functions – including various “professional” functions.
    What I most remember is that 6 months later, the transferred IT staff were so pleased to be part of an organisation which understood them and their needs – far more than the host organisation ever could.
    The lot of “other professionals” in Law Firms (Finance, IT, HR , Marketing) is rarely a happy one. However skilled and professional they are, they are considered to be second class citizens.
    I have a hunch that in a few months time, many will be very pleased to be working for an organisation which understands them and their professionalism.

    Bookmark this – and come back at Xmas

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  • You will find very few law firm support staff who are genuinely happy with their place in life. The morale-sapping knowledge that the fee earners always have the upper hand, the feeling that there's little between them and you intellectually but they earn ten times as much. It's a draining environment. This debate reminds me of some colleagues I know at one firm who have argued that their support staff should move to time recording - like an agency - to demonstrate to the partners the value they add and address the "what does marketing/HR do all day" sniping. Almost like an internal agency. That may be the way it goes st some firms. This Integreon outsourcing model is perfectly viable as well. It's working well at a number of US firms. If I was at Camerons, I'd be quite pleased about this. It's an opportunity to develop a more commercial fee earning rather than cost-sucking mentality which will sit better with the attorneys and enhance your credibility. Potentially, there's also the chance to vary your client base. As with all change, however, there are some that embrace it and seize the opportunities, while the tea-sippers and clock-watchers resist any attempt to move from their comfort zone.

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  • I used to work as a lawyer at Cameron McKenna and the way all staff were treated has been getting worse and worse for a long time. Management have effectively lied to their employees three times in two years and by the time I left I felt I couldn't believe a word I was told. I now work in house (and there are plenty of others like me) and neither I nor any of my friends would consider passing Camerons any work for a very long time to come (if ever). The firm is a sinking ship and although it's very difficult to stand up for yourself with the redundancy sword hanging over your head, I would urge all CMS' remaining staff (many of whom are fantastic people who do not deserve to be treated like this), insist on all 'promises' in writing, and get out when you can.

    If there's a silver lining in this situation, it's that Camerons are finally being named and shamed as they deserve to be.

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  • I am a lawyer and I have known since before admission that lying to or misleading clients or colleagues is a breach of the professional ethics standards and code of conduct by which I am bound. I am fully aware that membership of my profession and my right to practice is a privilege which could be removed from me if I act dishonestly and without integrity. CMS are a large law firm regulated by the Law Society and have accreditation to train some of the next generation of the profession. The allegations made on this board are serious and should be investigated by the Law Society. If any lawyer, let alone senior management at a major law firm, knowingly makes a untrue statement and this is discovered, that lawyer should have to explain themselves to the SRA. I really hope the SRA / Law Society is watching - I have no desire to live in a country where officers of the court (solicitors) can tell outright lies and we turn a blind eye because that behaviour is dressed up as a commercial decision.

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  • "Wright added that some functions of the business may not move over to Integreon. “We still don’t know. It may be that some elements prove too strategic and it doesn’t make sense [to outsource them]."
    Tony, as Director of Operations, if you need a four-month audit with your outsourcing partner to figure out which functions are strategic to the business, you probably are in the wrong job, mate.

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  • How do you create a small, profitable law firm? Start with a large profitable law firm and give it to Duncan and Tony.

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  • Having worked for CMS for "many" years and having the adjusted redundancy package introduced (on the promise there were "no" planned redundancies and there were "80" 3 months later), being encouraged to sign up to the Flex (until December 2010) for the good of the firm (which the Management never signed up for) and to ensure my job was safe and now THIS while "we're" STILL paying for the flex, I actually think they've done me a favour coz I'm gonna hold out, get my "well deserved" redundancy (even if it is capped at 20 years meaning that what I've done over that counts for nothing) and get myself a new job with someone that will undoubtedly be better. Your loss!!!!

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  • Two weeks on from the fanfare of trumpets I gather the top brass are in hibernation. There is a lot of angry staff, many contributing here, yet the management response is an ear-splitting silence. May be there is nothing to report. May be they are stunned at the reaction. May be they're ashamed. But wouldn't it be prudent to say something even if only "oops!"

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  • I still do not understand why it is not widly known that Integreon have been looking into CMCK dealings and making assesements for over 18 months already!!! CMCK are not being honest as they already know who is going and they are not sharing this as they do not want to let staff go until they have done knowledge transfere. As soon as that is done and they have sucked all the meat off the bones of all the staff they will chuck them on the scrap heap. They knew about this when they made adjustements to the redundancy package so they could save even more money and give staff the bare minimum package without impacting there bonuses. Most bonuses have stopped this year but some are being paid to the people who have a good chance of staying.

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  • It seems the firm hasn't completely lost the human touch. Someone on the Cameron's website team is enjoying a not-so-private joke on the Careers page, (www.cms-cmck.com/careers/pages/default.aspx). The main image looks suspiciously like a noose. And the shamefully jolly Jekkyl and Hyde rhetoric on the 'How We Work' pages could have been produced by that nice chap from Integreon. Last out the door gets to write the Alumni pages.

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