Eversheds to offshore more support work, 100 jobs at risk

  • Print
  • Comments (44)

Readers' comments (44)

  • The debate on this issue will continue with strong arguments on both sides. But before we condemn Eversheds or assume that their motivation is greed (as opposed to good business practices) or that they are tone-deaf to the value of their employees (as opposed to seeking to serve their clients in a more effective fashion), I would offer the following:
    Perhaps another way to look at this is by assessing what a law firm is at its best - a business that provides the highest quality legal services, a strong value proposition, and best service possible to their clients. If a firm does that well, they deserve to profit nicely and will have built that success on a strong and loyal workforce.
    So do remember that many of Eversheds' clients are the first to tout the benefits (not just cost savings, but improved efficiency and service) that many have enjoyed from moving business functions which are not core to their business to businesses that can offer that service in a more expert and cost-effective fashion. I know many clients and companies whose outsourcing experience is not the one that becomes the butt of jokes about the call center to India or West Virginia or the Caribbean; rather their experience is that service has improved and they have better results all around. People remaining in the organization are freed to focus on what is core to their workplan. And if Eversheds is acting more cost-consciously and adopting business practices that have been successful in their clients' organizations, I would think that should be seen by clients as a plus, not a sign that they lack values or value. Maybe business clients might be saying, "Gee, that's a firm that gets it; they operate in a fashion that I understand and endorse."
    Any decision of this sort will have severe ramifications within the firm and on the people most directly affected who lose their jobs -- I think we all get that and none of us would want to be on the receiving end of that pink slip. But running a large, sophisticated law firm in today's market that continues to employ the many hundreds who remain after this action is taken requires tougher decision-making and executive skills than might have been needed when it was still possible for firms to say: "No one cares if we're inefficient - we're worth it!"
    In today's world, clients care about whether their firms are efficient and focused on delivering high quality with controlled cost. Eversheds is likely just as focused on serving their clients and living up to their expectations as they are on assuring that their workforce has faith that the firm will make the hard decisions necessary to excel and profit into the future. Maybe this decision serves both purposes, when you look at it through that lens.
    Time will tell if Eversheds made the right decision, and the market will decide if this decision is supporting or counter to what Eversheds wants to be known for in terms of their business culture going forward. As a person from the client community and one who's closely watching the marketplace of successful firms and practices, I'm willing to bet that Eversheds will find short and long term benefit -- from both their continuing employees and from their clients -- precisely because they took on such difficult decisions in the interest of moving the firm as a whole toward stronger business efficiencies.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • How unfortunate that a so-called 'leader' is still indulging in cost cutting. One whould have to wonder why they thay have not pursued more sustainable options that deliver more than a single, never to be repeated, 'hit'. The issue surely is to reduce the cost of sales anda adjust the business model. Now if they ditched the billable hour and decided ot gurantee thier results (output) may be some respect could be accorded to management. Left as it is what have we got? Cost cutting (yawn). It would be good to have a really close look at the full operational metrics, not just the fiscal ones. Cost cutting is easy; getting more from less is a standard budgetary objective which, when carried out as a 'mid term' adjustment, suggests it is knee jerk reaction and not part of a plan to improve client service. After all where does the money ultimately come from?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Few questions;
    1) 100 roles * say an av salary of 25k does not give you  several million a year, may do over several years ...... but the headline is incorrect and misleading. 
    2) no reference  to how clients who don't want their details or monies transferred abroad will be managed. 
    3) why not fix the current outsourcing solution - exigent, which is apparently a disaster!!
    4) can I be there when everybody catches on to the fact they will have to use and speak to a indian call centre.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Correct, Scep Tick. That's what happens when you knock yourself out for years to make partner and then get to run your own business. Its not some charitable foundation."
    Yes. And without the previous partners running the business properly the current partners would not have a business to run. In the same way that the Halliwells partners thought it better to invest £15m from the sale of an asset into their pockets and now have denied the next generation their chance.
    The partners ought to be getting business in to reap the rewards. If they are not doing so then they resort to cost-cutting. It's not sustainable, and they know it. But they're raking in as much as they can for the time being. Scorched earth policy with no future thought.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It's a sad view that business is somehow void of any moral obligation, that it is only there for profit, and any other objective is somehow a weakness.
    I feel sorry for the partners at Eversheds.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This is the slippery slope. Support staff today, legal services tomorrow. I'm sure we won't see many comments defending outsourcing once solicitors start to lose their jobs to cheaper alternatives abroad.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I can fully understand outsourcing IT, Office Facilities' functions etc; but to attempt to offshore HR fully could be difficult. Staff have statutory rights to physical Disciplinary hearings with reps present and I doubt these will be held in Bangalore via a link and interpreter!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think the guestimates that HR staff are on average only on 20-25k may be somewhat wide of the mark. Sadly are lot even in Top 100 UK Law Firms believe that they 'run' the firms, because they administer hirings and firings. With the advent of LLPs and incorporations a lot of HR managers now even find themslves titled HR Directors and consider themselves on an equal footing with former full Equity Partners. I recall one such HR Manager telling an Equity Partner that he 'hadn't signed in today' and she needed to know where he was etc until he reminded her that her name wasn't on the letterhead! A cursory glance at HR positions advertised even in the provinces shows they demand 30-60k with some even seeking 80k pa! Secretaries earn 20k in many firms so the savings may be greater than some comments above suggest.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I don't know what the problem is. I've worked for a number of law firms in non fee-earning/support roles. I gave my all but was never under any illusion that these were ruthless businesses. I left every job and moved on of my own volition, but the point is that there is always tons of other jobs out there. There was a recruitment tumble after Lehmans which ran into 09 but has picked up now and the law firm support recruiters are buzzing. Get another job - one door shuts, another opens. No big deal.
    I can't understand all this naive "there's no loyalty" whinging...most top commercial lawyers would sell their grandmother for a bump in PEP or a juicy new client. Did you not realize that when you worked there?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Ive worked in a corporate law firm for many years starting as support and becoming a fee earner and its a well known fact that the support staff are the backbone of the firm! the partners in my firm did nothing but socialise, play golf and have affairs with their secretaries!! they didnt have targets to meet and just spent most of their time in what they called "marketing"!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page

Have your say

Mandatory Required Fields

Mandatory

Comments that are in breach or potential breach of our terms and conditions in particular clause 8, may not be published or, if published, may subsequently be taken down. In addition we may remove any comment where a complaint is made in respect of it. These actions are at our sole discretion.

  • Print
  • Comments (44)