The legal industry is looking for new support business models and new locations as well. The mantra is not anymore ‘London, London, London’. There are new kids on the block in the UK, Europe and Asia. Norton Rose Fulbright and Dentons recently announced new locational support strategies, following examples of Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells. “Buck Consultants International is clearly the preferred go to location advisory firm for legal firms, as these new projects show again”, says Josefien Glaudemans, partner at Buck Consultants International.


Dentons, a global top 20 legal firm, announced its new shared services strategy with the announcement of a new business service center in Warsaw, Poland later this year. Dentons Business Services EMEA (DBSE) will supply business services for lawyers and professionals predominantly in the firm's UKMEA and Europe regions across finance, business development and marketing, human resources and IT. By pooling together in one location certain tasks currently performed across numerous offices, Dentons will be able to leverage both regions' combined scale and resources more effectively, and create better service for its clients as a result of achieving greater efficiencies within the business. "We are always looking for new ways to better serve our clients", said global chairman Joe Andrew. "After the firm's rapid expansion of the past few years it is a logical step for us to leverage our scale and resources more effectively, while continuing to invest in harmonization so that we can achieve our objective of building the law firm of the future now."

"Warsaw offers us a number of advantages over other locations, but the key appeal to us is its mature shared services market with experienced and available staff," said UKMEA CEO Jeremy Cohen. "We are the largest law firm in Poland with a reputation for quality stretching back over 25 years, which will make the DBSE an attractive proposition to the multi-lingual business services workforce that Warsaw is renowned for."

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright, another large legal firm, announced recently to move nearly 60 London support jobs to Manila in the Philippines as it relocates 170 jobs worldwide. The firm is opening a business services centre in Manila in September 2016 to handle marketing, business development, HR, document production, IT, finance, compliance and knowledge management work.

Mark Whitley, the firm's global chief operating officer, said: "This change will mean that we will have to take some tough decisions regarding our people. We fully appreciate that this will be a difficult time for some of them.

According to Whitley, the move is part of the firm's 2020 business transformation strategy, which has the goal of creating a "globally integrated and efficient service". The centre, with a dedicated team of about 170 people, will service the firm's global offices across Australia, EMEA, Canada and the US.

A Norton Rose spokesperson said the firm had conducted "an extensive review" before deciding on the moves: "The criteria we used to select our preferred locations were quality, risk and cost and, having considered all options, we decided that Manila best fulfilled our criteria. Manila is a business service hub, with a well-developed infrastructure, a large, English-speaking labour pool and a strong professional services culture."

Source: a.o. Legal Week

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