An announcement was made on Friday that San Francisco law firm Sedgwick is moving to Kansas City, Missouri, according to The Am Law Daily. The firm said it will be moving multiple administrative operations to Kansas City. The new office will open at some point in the summer.
Once the move is complete, the new office will house all of the firm’s human resources, finance, knowledge management, information technology, new business and marketing operations. There will be some 100 employees, both new hires and relocations, at the office in Kansas City.
Michael Tanenbaum, the firm’s chair, said in a statement that, “As we evaluated our options, we had to weigh our 80-year history of firmwide operations being centered in San Francisco against the escalating cost of San Francisco real estate, opportunities available outside the Bay Area and the advantages of bringing together our firmwide resources in a central location. San Francisco remains home to our largest office, and we are committed to expanding the services we provide our clients from our San Francisco office while growing that office.”
Michael Healy, who is a partner at the firm and a member of its executive committee, said that the decision to open an office in Kansas City was about more than lowering the firm’s operating costs. Healy said that the central location of the new office and the talent pool that consists of high-tech people helped with the decision.
“We have great information technology needs, and Kansas City actually has a very sophisticated IT environment,” Healy said.
Employees at Sedgwick will have the opportunity to move to Kansas City if they are in good standing with the law firm. Employees who do not want to move to the new office will have an opportunity to work in a new position within the firm. Employees not interested in either option will be given a severance package and outplacement services if they stay with the firm through September 30.
“We’ll probably know in a couple of weeks what percentage of people here are interested [in relocating], and then we’ll begin our recruiting efforts to fill the spots that need to be filled by local people.”
Healy noted that Sedgwick followed moves made by other law firms before decided to do it themselves.
“Our lease was coming due in San Francisco,” he says. “And, I suspect in other expensive cities for both workforce and space, as their leases come due, they’ll have to make the same serious evaluation. We’ve been watching how a lot of other businesses are doing this as well, not just law firms.”