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Clarke Willmott is to pilot an outsourcing programme in its Birmingham office with the aim of rolling it out across all its UK offices.
The firm will send its typing work to South Africa, where it will be done by outsourcing company Exigent. In the UK, Clarke Willmott will implement a secretarial training scheme to enable the position to encompass a broader range of skills.
Managing partner David Sedgwick said the firm had made a number of secretaries redundant in recent months and consequently “the secretaries we’ve got are very good”.
“We want to improve their skills and make them more aligned with the fee earners,” Sedgwick explained. “There’ll be no more secretarial redundancies.”
The secretarial development programme will involve a series of training modules that will focus on financial administration, events, marketing and business development initiatives.
Clarke Willmott partners will not be forced to use the outsourcing service but, said Sedgwick, “ultimately we think everyone will take it up”.
Initially it will be used in Birmingham, but, if successful, it will be rolled out to the firm’s bases in Bristol, Southampton, Taunton and London.
Sedgwick said it would be at least a year before the firm can assess how much money it had saved from the outsourcing, but added that it was not chiefly a cost-saving exercise.
The news comes after Eversheds did a similar pilot, which has resulted in the firm outsourcing secretarial work from across its UK network (10 September 2009).
Earlier this year Pinsent Masons became the first firm to outsource legal work, sending some litigation work to qualified lawyers working for Exigent in South Africa (22 June 2009).
The Lawyer revealed on Monday that Slaughter and May is in talks to outsource low legal work, including document review and due diligence (5 October 2009).