Hogan Lovells is to cut 54 business support jobs from its City arm as the firm moves to expand its low-cost hubs around the world.
The Anglo-American law firm announced today (20 June) that most of the roles have been moved to its low cost centres in Johannesburg and Louisville, and a new business support team established in Birmingham.
The announcement follows a review of 90 non-legal City jobs launched in September last year. A spokesperson said 17 staff members remain under consultation, with further updates expected later this summer. Hogan Lovells counts around 500 business support roles in London.
The firm said in a statement this was ‘a carefully considered step focused on improving our business performance and sustainability in a rapidly evolving and competitive legal market’.
Some of the 54 roles were on short-term contracts and a handful of staff have transferred their roles to Birmingham, though the move represents a substantial reduction in the size of its City staffing.
Regional managing partner Susan Bright told Legal Business: ‘It is about efficiency – there are obviously cost savings in having people in Johannesburg, Louisville and Birmingham – but it’s also about creating teams of people doing specialist roles working together.’
This move is the latest in a series of comparable initiatives by City law firms. Last month Ashurst launched a redundancy review which could result in 80% of its 100-strong secretarial team in London being axed, while Pinsent Masons started a consultation on cutting 100 non-legal jobs last year . Most recently Ince & Co this month announced it was to cut 30 roles, primarily impacting its business service ranks.
As law firms keep slashing back workforces in expensive City-based locations, north or near-shoring hubs are expanding rapidly. It is an astute nod to client calls for efficiency but cynics will note that this trend is occurring at a period of rising partner profits and fresh hikes to associate salaries, two very well paid groups that are largely untouched by such brutal calculations.