Wragge & Co is the latest firm to transfer a cohort of its support staff to third-party provider Intelligent Office, resulting in 26 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff members opting to take voluntary redundancy.
When the redundancy consultation kicked off in May 2013, the firm said 30 FTE secretarial and PA roles were at risk due to the restructuring of its support team (8 May 2013).
As the review came to a close in August, staff members in 26 FTE roles requested voluntary redundancy and had their bids accepted. The firm said that no compulsory redundancies were made.
PAs across all four of the firm’s legal groups – corporate, commercial, finance and projects; real estate; human resources; and dispute resolution – were affected by the results of the consultation.
Managing partner Ian Metcalfe noted that the firm’s new administrative structure had been phased in over the last three months, with the final phase going live on 1 October.
“The new structure is still bedding in but we are confident we have the right people in the right roles, and that this is the right way forward for the firm, our clients and our people,” he continued. “We wish those who chose not stay with us all the best in the future.”
Under the terms of its agreement with Intelligent Office, Wragges has transferred 65 FTE roles from its facilities, administrative and secretarial teams over to Intelligent Office. These have formed a new so-called ‘Docucentre’, which will be managed on-site by Intelligent Office. The Docucentre umbrella will also consume the firm’s new document production centre and concierge hub.
PAs and other new roles created through the restructuring process have been retained within Wragge & Co.
The firm said that as a result of the consultation, a number of support staff were promoted into more senior roles in its re-modelled structure. A new executive PA grade has also been created, for which the first round of promotions are being considered for early 2014.
Wragges is the latest of a number of firms to cut their support staff headcount in recent months. Earlier in October, Ashurst announced it is to cut over 120 support staff jobs from its City base as a response to the opening its new lost-cost office in Glasgow (4 October 2013). Maclay Murray & Spens confirmed the loss of 28 legal and support staff jobs in September (9 September 2013), just days after Bevan Brittan cut six support staff and a number of fee-earning roles (6 September 2013).
Last week Wragges announced that projects head David Fennell had been elected as the firm’s new managing partner, replacing Ian Metcalfe (8 October 2013).