DLA Piper is to cut 180 business support roles in the UK, following a consultation that was launched in May this year to move those roles to a Warsaw hub.
Out of 200 proposed job losses, the current number of redundancies now stands at 175, including one resignation and four staff redeployed internally. However according to the firm, individual consultations are still ongoing, which may further reduce the number over the coming months.
The redundancies will impact the IT, finance, HR, marketing & business development, and secretarial teams in the UK in what the firm’s chief operating officer Andrew Darwin says is ‘part of our plans to operate more effectively on a global basis and improve the quality, consistency and efficiency of the way we deliver our services to our clients.’
The move, which is one of the largest law firm redundancies since the aftermath of the financial crisis, will see DLA Piper direct huge swathes of jobs and shift roles to low-wage economy Poland.
In a shift away from the firm’s roots in Yorkshire, where DLA Piper can trace its history back to 1764 when the firm Barnard & Bolland was established in Leeds, a number of roles are to be axed in Sheffield and Leeds. All of the firm’s UK offices will be affected, including London. DLA Piper also has offices in Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Manchester.
The changes follow a two-year review of the firm’s operations, run by Darwin, and a pilot of a global shared services centre in Warsaw.
The move comes three years after DLA Piper’s last UK redundancy round, when around 250 staff were laid-off in a move that also saw the firm close its Glasgow office.
The UK’s largest law firm, DLA Piper saw revenue growth this year of 4% to £1.6bn, while profit per equity partner was flat at £937,000.
The move is arguably another sign of a slowdown in the legal market, with King & Wood Mallesons axing 45 business services staff in London in March and Reed Smith cutting 45 lawyer roles across the US, UK and Middle East in January.
More recently, Simmons & Simmons laid off lawyers in London following the Brexit vote. While the firm has refused to comment on the number of redundancies, banking and real estate are two practices known to be affected.