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Hogan Lovells cuts 54 City jobs as law firms keep slashing London biz service roles

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.