Just a few days back, law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP made it to Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” And despite shedding 72 jobs since 2013, the rankings showed progressed from the 82nd spot to the 60th. So, Bingham, being more or less certain that layoffs will not affect either its rankings or its reputation, the firm is considering more layoffs according to a firm-wide memo sent out on January 23.
The memo signed by Tracee Whitley, Chief Operating Officer, Bingham says that as a result of efficiencies achieved through the Global Services Center in Lexington, transitioning support staff to outsource providers and undertaking a comprehensive procurement program with Profit Recovery Partners, some people need to go.
Whitley did not attribute the layoffs solely to “efficiencies achieved,” but also to “the evolution of legal practice support needs, technology advancements, and the current low-growth state of the legal industry.”
The memo goes on to mention at the outset the reduction in force of administrative department staff. This should come as no surprise given technological advancements and outsourcing. Whitley mentions, “Yesterday and earlier today, we eliminated 31 staff positions across various administrative departments. These reductions follow other voluntary staff departures and position cancellations which together with the reduction-in-force are enabling us to realign our staff headcount with our current practice and business needs.”
Whitley also noted that two areas, Secretarial Support, and Revenue Management Team, are marked for better alignment and new staffing models. The revenue management team is being reorganized and the moves include transitioning 22 positions to the Global Services Center in Lexington and “retaining 31 positions across our offices. Many of the retained positions will be restructured to better support our partners’ practices.”
For those who may not be ready to relocate to Lexington, there may be few options, though those who are in positions that have been directly eliminated will be receiving severance packages and outplacement assistance commensurate with their tenure and position levels. Not surprising that firms are trying to come into the 21st century by adopting corporate practices long prevalent in other industries.