Wragge & Co launches redundancy consultation with 30 at risk

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  • 'This isn’t a reaction to poor trading but quite the reverse. It’s driven by a desire to bring 21st century working practices into our business.'

    So we should expect an announcement when your accounts are published that you increased turnover? No, I didn't think so.

    The fact is that you have not done your homework, if you dug a little deeper into what you are planning and ignored the 'sales talk' you would of seen that bringing in Intelligent Office can only lead to problems for your company, and there are numerous examples.

    Maybe if the fee earners spent more time doing what they were paid to do this drastic attempt at a solution would not have been necessary in areas where your firm 'was' seen as quite a good respectable company.

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  • It is only a matter of time befor IO talk you into moving all levels of support over to them, doomed to failure.

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  • Just an idea but maybe you should have picked the phone up and spoken to Andrew Manning at Bevan Brittan.

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  • My understanding from what I've heard is that the board are expecting the fee earners to do more of the admin by making the ratio of PA's to FE's even greater than they are. I say from what 'I've heard' because we still haven't been told the details.

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  • Hopefully we will still have time for Friday drinks.

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  • Can I just say as a client of Wragge & Co I am appalled by that last comment

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  • at a time like this, with so much uncertainty any negative thoughts, comments and opinions do not help the support staff at Wragge & Co. I for one think that the process has so far been dealt with the best it can be, of course it is going to be a tough time for all the support staff, but rest assured there has been constant reassurance that they are doing their best for their staff. Yes out sourcing has ended badly in the past for certain firms, but it has also ended well. The suggestions for what they can provide have so far been good to hear.

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  • @Client, there is every prospect that @ConcernedFeeEarner (who is obviously charming as well as fabulously witty) either is nothing to do with Wragge & Co or is in a minority of one. I have been instructed by Wragge & Co on occasion and I do not recognise that sort of sentiment amongst their fee-earners. ps I accept that you may not be a client!

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  • "Maybe if the fee earners spent more time doing what they were paid to do this drastic attempt at a solution would not have been necessary" - what a moronic statement.

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  • I challenge anyone to cite where outsourcing has worked well for a firm. The recent spate of Integreon dumping is just indicative of firms waking-up. Outsourcing only increases costs by reducing headcount. The move to IO shows that the firm doesn't give a toss about its staff and that it doesn't even understand what they do! Good luck with that one.

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  • These are tough economic times; so we are constantly reminded.

    Our thoughts should be with those who are having to endure this process, may it be handled as sympathetically as is possible to do so.

    To " the Client" perhaps a little bit more sympathy? A little light-heartedness? What is the harm in looking forward to a Friday drink? I assume the person in question intends to have this after their working day - why so appalled?

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  • Very sad for friends at Wragges. IO has to be one of the worst mistakes a number of firms have made. They are inefficient and create more work for the Fee Earners and PAs who are left ...... Big big mistake.

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  • I'm assuming 'the Client' is so appalled because at such a sensitive time for all concerned with this process, you have a member of staff who is seen as their peer and not affected making a statement for all to view that really should have been kept to themselves.

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  • The problem is Anonymous @9-May-2013 0:09 am, what this particular individual is refering to does not occur AFTER their working day!

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  • Is Wragges the new Eversheds? It only needs to move secretaries to South Africa and its finance function to India to have a full house.

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  • @Concerned Fee Earner (8-May-2013 3:25 pm) what a lovely 'One Team' attitude

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  • @Anonymous 8 May 7:52 pm - Given the comment by one of Wragge & Co's fee earners re Friday drinks with confirmation that this is in work time, topping that off with the fact that you have failed to reach your targets this year. This process is without doubt a knock on effect and therefore I fail to see why the original posters comment with regards to fee earners is moronic.

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  • This makes perfect sense, a contract with IO will allow the firm to flex it's support cost if it's income takes a hit, thus reducing its operational gearing ratio and reducing financial risk.

    We use IO and they are awesome, if some have a bad experience then that may be due to location, getting decent support level staff is easier in the provinces where wages for that level of salary are considerably easier to live off.

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  • Another company that has sold out to the sales talk, and yet another company that will learn that going through this process does not boost their bank balance. What is clear by so many other examples is that the FE's will have more work to do sorting out admin problems distracting them from Client care. I feel for the PA's that are left after the redundancies they will have increased ratios and they will be asked to continue to work as they are now even though parts of their work should be filtered down. We all know how hard it is to get FE's to change the way they work. As the earlier poster states, if anyone can cite an example where this works for a company of Wragge's size I'd be surprised.

    From my experience, IO have got their foot in the door by giving the initial consultation, I doubt whether anyone who provided them with the information on their day to day work got to see any of the results as they are massaged to look favourably on how IO can improve roles, then 6 months after the initial TUPE an announcement will take place that all support roles will be moved over.

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  • 'Across the firm there are 258 people working in a variety of support roles within eight support teams. Our single team approach means we understand the critical role these people play and they are recognised and rewarded accordingly.'
    Indeed.....

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  • Propehtic?

    'A number of former Bevan Brittain back office staff are to be made redundant just three months after transferring to outsourcing company Intelligent Office UK.
    ..................................
    In a statement confirming the numbers, the firm stressed that Intelligent Office UK is "looking to find opportunities elsewhere in the business with an ideal outcome of zero compulsory redundancies," adding that the total of thirteen voluntary redundancies "might reduce depending on discussions that are ongoing and will be concluded later this week."
    ........................................
    Back office functions at Bevan Brittan including secretarial work, document production, print and mail room, front of house and records management were taken on by Intelligent Office UK at the end of last year, with CEO Andrew Manning saying at the time that the firm needed to "evolve the traditional operating model of a law firm."

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  • The next step........ redundancies by IO after the TUPE stage and the use of virtual legal secretaries, the work will be shipped out by IO to low paid employees who of course will be happy to do the work and no doubt Wragges would have been shown statements of happiness from these individuals. Don't forget they won't be 'Overseas'...............pitched the sales talk and been bought hook line and sinker!

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  • Any kind of change of this size is always painful and I'm sure it's being done as sensitively as possible. This isn't 'outsourcing' though - it's cultural change. The key to its success is the firm working closely with Intelligent Office and not setting them up for failure. If it's led right by the firm, it can (and has been in other places) be highly successful.

    I can think of many examples where 'outsourcing' (which everyone seems to use as a generic kneejerk to any level of change in working processes) has worked very well - for firms much, much larger than Wragges. Linklaters successfuly use a combination of offshoring and onshoring; A&O do the same (and I've worked at both firms); in all cases, the desire to make it work has been the key.

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  • “We will be doing what many firms have done,” commented managing partner Ian Metcalfe.

    There once was a time when Wragge & Co had a unique culture and didn't simply do what other firms did. Their unique culture appears to have been lost, or worse abandoned, with the firm seemingly unable to determine it's own course.

    The move to IO will see a shift from a healthy symbiotic relationship between fee earners and support staff to one that is disparate and disjointed. It is shortsighted at best and will ultimately destroy the morale of the vast majority of the current employee base.

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  • @Anonymous | 9-May-2013 5:23 pm..so as far as you are concerned it is 'cultural change' and not outsourcing to TUPE the vast majority of your support staff to IO?

    Seriously.....

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  • I'm assuming that the 'anonymous' folk are employees of Wragges in which case if I were Ian Metcalf I'd be asking why they were blogging all afternoon! I picked up 2 new clients this avo when all this was going on. It's a dreadful read guys and not what I would have expected from Wragges.

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  • Wragge and Intelligent Office are successful businesses making a positive contribution to the UK economy. Is it fair or helpful for people to make disparaging remarks about both of them, on an open forum, without the full facts? I am sure they each make business decisions after considering all the facts and I am not sure any of us are in a position to undermine what they are doing.

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  • The matter is not being dealt with as senisbly as possible. The whole process is being dragged out and after the announcement on Tuesday people are still no clearer as to what is happening. Please spare a thought for all of the support staff that are having to endure the uncertainty and worry that this is causing and not knowing whether to "jump ship" now or wait to be transferred and then made redundant. Not the "ONE" attitude that they pride themselves on so much.

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  • Re Chester Lee Street | 9-May-2013 1:41 pm "a contract with IO will allow the firm to flex it's support cost" ...... "It's"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe, just maybe, something "awesome" (IO?) might be useful for Chester Lee Street.

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  • Perhaps Wragges should take a look at what has happened in the US as well with outsourcing employees. For example, Circuit City, a company that had been successful for decades, is now bankrupt and defunct, because they felt outsourcing their support staff to IBM was a "sensible" business idea. And their talk of reducing redundancies by moving support staff to IBM was simply talk; most employees were laid off instead, rather than IBM having to compete with their current salaries. I would say Wragges is making a costly business decision, one which they may not live to regret.

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  • Apologies that my grammar is not up to scratch, I cry myself to sleep about this every night.
    On the other hand I laugh through most of the day as lawyers moan to the theme of "I wish it could be as it has always been".
    A open eyed view outwith the doors of your respective firms will find that the majority of businesses have had to abandon the way that things have been for many years prior to the downturn. We should be no different from our clients in exploring ways to become more efficient and cost effective, these ways may not always prove to be effective but it is better to try, than to moan that things are not like the once were as your firm goes down the tubes.
    The key difference to the majority of our clients who will be more open to change and effective at applying those changes is that the staff and management of those businesses will have varied skill sets, expertise and experiences to apply to their problems, whereas the management of law firms is often limited to legal ability at the expense of other complimentary skills.
    I will try to improve my grammar on future posts, thank you for you're feedback...

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  • Why don't they outsource the partners and keep the PA's and secretary's? Surely that will allow the PA's to develop much more easily and put the company in the vanguard of 21st century working practices.

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