The Australian and New Zealand offices of DLA Piper won’t be affected by mass layoffs by the firm’s UK operation, a spokesperson for the firm told Australasian Lawyer.
Last week, DLA Piper’ chief operating officer Andrew Darwin announced that 200 business support jobs in the UK would be transitioned to the firm’s back offices operations in Warsaw. The reductions are likely to affect IT, finance, HR, marketing and business development and secretarial teams in the firm’s seven UK offices, a report by Bloomberg said.
“The firm has grown rapidly over the past decade and many of our systems and processes reflect the history of the firm rather than its future,” Darwin said in a statement.
“It is a key part of our strategy to modernize our business service functions in order 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.”
He added that the firm would be supporting its staff throughout the process and that until the consultation is completed, the firm will not be making any final decisions on which jobs are axed.
“Following a comprehensive review of the firm's operations, and the successful pilot of a global shared services centre in Warsaw, we have begun a period of consultation in the UK that will consider the possible reduction in size of our IT, Finance, HR, Marketing & BD, and Secretarial teams,” the statement said.
A report by Bloomberg estimated that the layoffs would affect 18% of the firm’s overall staff of 1,100 support professionals, and not lawyers directly.
Darwin said that the move will improve efficiency, with digital, automated systems to carry out some tasks, including an Oracle product that stores recruiting data.
“We wanted to remove some of that administration from people who you want to be engaged in high level tasks in the HR function,” Darwin said, adding that the goal is to have staff working on high level tasks and not routine process tasks.
The firm, which has around 3,750 lawyers worldwide, brought in $2.54bn in revenue last year, up 2.5% according to findings by American Lawyer. Darwin reportedly declined to comment on how much the firm would save from the staff reduction but did say that exit packages would be generous.