Freshfields’ shrinking ship

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer‘s staff should not get too comfortable, with the firm’s cost-cutting exercises tipped to continue.

The magic circle giant has already slimmed down in a Linklaters-esque move, shedding 100 equity partners through an overhaul of the firm’s pension system and equity structure. That’s on top of the support staff losses caused by the integration of its knowledge management and business development functions.

But as revealed by chief executive Ted Burke in theFebruary edition of The Lawyer Podcast (www.thelawyer, Freshfields is now mulling over whether to take another magic circle rival’s lead – this time Clifford Chance – and outsource some of the firm’s support services. Clifford Chance is transferring 300 accounting and IT jobs to Delhi this year in a bid to save £10m and, in Burke’s own words, a similar scenario “is under consideration” at Freshfields. Good news for the firm’s surviving partners, but perhaps not for some of the support staff, unless a move to India is on the cards.