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Eversheds is to offshore HR, administration and finance roles, with 100 jobs at risk of redundancy as a result.
The firm has signed a seven-year agreement with Accenture, which will also see Accenture develop a common IT platform for all the international offices. Eversheds will also outsource HR support services and administration, general accounting functions, billing and collections and the business processes involved from procurement to payment to Accenture over the next 12 months.
The work will be offshored to Bangalore in India. As a result 100 roles in finance and human resources, mainly located in Birmingham, Cardiff and Leeds, will be at risk of redundancy.
Managing partner Lee Ranson explained that the job losses were likely to centre on those regional offices because the firm has already concentrated most of its back office functions there. The job losses are likely to affect those in junior roles.
Ranson said: “It’s important that any major law firm continues to adapt in line with changes in both our sector and the wider marketplace.
“We’ve worked over the last eight months to look at how best to deliver some of our HR and finance functions. This proposal would enable us to put in place a cost efficient, innovative and robust solution, which safeguards quality and enhances client service.
“It’s always regrettable when potential redundancies are a part of such a process and we will of course be consulting with all those members of staff who may be affected by this announcement. The proposals are to retain impacted staff for a minimum of six months to assist with the transition. Those affected will be offered enhanced redundancy terms and comprehensive outplacement support.”
The firm has begun a 28-day consultation and is proposing paying twice the statutory redundancy to those affected.
Ranson estimated that the cost savings would be “several million pounds per year”.
Last year Eversheds outsourced document production work to business process outsourcing (BPO) company Exigent in South Africa, saving an estimated £2m and resulting in 95 secretarial redundancies (14 September 2009).
The firm also sends legal work abroad on behalf of clients. Bulk repossession work for GE and volume conveyancing work for Aviva are carried out by Williams Lea in India.
Through redundancies, outsourcing and other cost-cutting measures such as trimming the equity, the firm pushed up its profits over the 2009-10 financial year, with average profit per equity partner (PEP) increasing 28 per cent from £404,000 to £517,000 (28 May 2010).