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White & Case is planning an overhaul of its offshore operations that would see it transfer much of its business services to Eastern Europe and pilot legal process outsourcing (LPO) in its Philippines base.
The US firm is considering offloading parts of the business process unit it operates in Manila to the Czech Republic, Hungary or Southern Poland amid fears that it is overexposed to the Filipino market.
The outpost would primarily support the London office and other European bases and would be located separately from any of the firm’s offices in the region. It would start with roughly 20-40 staff, potentially rising to 100 over four years.
The firm is carrying out due diligence and hoping to take a decision within six months. If the plan goes ahead it will have operations on the ground a few months later.
White & Case chief operations officer Greg Dolan said the idea was based on factors including political and economic uncertainty and the risk of a natural disaster, as well as the preference for offshore services closer to the hubs the firm serves.
“If the Philippines were to go down for two weeks, that would be bad for us,” he stated.
Dolan said the firm would maintain its Manila base, adding that there would be no onshore redundancies, with staff numbers easing out over time through natural attrition.
He added that the firm was also set to pilot LPO in Manila in the next year. It currently uses the Filipino base only for non-legal business functions.