Trowers launches Birmingham document production hub as 34 secretaries exit

Trowers & Hamlins is to set up a new document production centre in its Birmingham office after losing 34 secretaries in a redundancy consultation.  

Jennie Gubbins, Trowers & Hamlins
Jennie Gubbins, Trowers & Hamlins

The new 21-strong document production centre will be launched next month to serve the firm’s UK and international offices. It follows the end of a six-month consultation which resulted in the restructuring of the firm’s current secretarial and document review team (26 March 2014).

From 5 September Trowers will have a dedicated document production team based in Birmingham. It will retain 66 secretaries across its UK and international offices.

Previously the firm’s seven staff members dedicated solely to document production were based in London. None of the secretaries who accepted the voluntary redundancy will take up roles in the new centre.

The firm hired a consultancy to advise on the options for the restructure. Of the centre, senior partner Jennie Gubbins said: “It’s about getting the right level of service. We’ve been feeling that we haven’t been supporting our people well enough in terms of document production.”

Trowers decided not to outsource the centre in order to retain “ownership and control” of the group.

“It’s about making people feel part of the broader team and a part of Trowers,” Gubbins added. ”We didn’t think with any seriousness about sending it to any country other than England so didn’t think about Northern Ireland for more than a moment and didn’t think about India. There’s nothing wrong with doing that but it’s just not the same as having people in an office that you manage that is in the same time zone.”

The firm launched the consultation into its secretarial and document review staff in January. At the time a spokesperson said: “We have been undertaking a review of our UK secretarial services over the last few months with a view to restructuring them. No final plans have yet been confirmed, however, we felt it was appropriate at this stage to ask if any secretaries would be interested in voluntary redundancy. The terms on offer are enhanced over the statutory minimum.”

Gubbins said the move to a dedicated document review hub was motivated by creating a more efficient structure rather than cost saving. She said she expected it to show on the bottom line in next year’s financial results.

The overhaul comes months after Trowers launched a new national public sector group in its Birmingham office and created a new national practice group structure.

In March the firm relocated partner Amardeep Gill from London to Birmingham to head up the new public sector group in the city (26 March 2014). James Hawkins heads up the national group in London.

This move followed a reorganisation from departmental groups within each of the firm’s offices to six unified practice groups across the UK including housing and regulatory, projects, commercial property, litigation and employment. As part of the shift, each team was measured as a financial unit and headed up by a practice group heads.

Trowers launched in Birmingham in 2011 with a focus on providing low-cost legal services to the affordable housing market. Housing projects senior partner Sara Bailey heads the office (14 June 2011).