CC slashes £30m costs as India base goes live

Clifford Chance

has embarked on a new costcutting drive with a major upscaling of its offshoring programme in India and a £10m IT investment to maintain average profit per equity partner (PEP), which last week tipped over the £1m mark for the first time.

Clifford Chance has been trialling a shared services operation in Delhi, which is set to go live this month, with London services going offshore, followed by the firm’s German and US back office operations.

Clifford Chance managing partner David Childs said: “India’s starting to ramp up. There are around 30 employees there now, but we anticipate this increasing to more than 100 in the next few months.”

Childs said the firm was looking to take £30m in costs out of the business over the next four years. This would be on top of the £40m and 300 jobs taken out of the cost base over the past two years.

Childs said the cost savings would be achieved by further investment in IT across the board, but a major part of the investment would go towards growing in India.

The firm has been piloting the scheme since last autumn, but has now moved into the implementation phase. It has relocated two senior managers, Hong Kong head of IT Wayne Phillips and London-based finance manager Jo Harvey, to Delhi.

The Indian shared services facilities handles basic accounting and business functions along with a range of IT services.

Childs added that Clifford Chance did not currently outsource any legal work, but that management “continued to think about it”.

The staff are employed by Clifford Chance as the facility is structured as an offshoring rather than an outsourcing.

A Clifford Chance spokesperson said the firm was aiming to manage the transfer of jobs via natural wastage rather than large-scale redundancies.

Last week Clifford Chance revealed an increase in PEP of 25 per cent for the 2006-07 financial year, up from £814,000 to £1.02m.