Camerons battles backlash from controversial outsourcing deal

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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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