find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Bakers swells ranks of in-house outsourcing centre

Bakers swells ranks of in-house outsourcing centre

After only one year of operations, Baker & McKenzie has grown its legal services processing centre in Belfast from five staff to more than 160.

In August last year, Baker & McKenzie opened its centralised location for bulk legal services, taking a similar approach to Herbert Smith Freehills in Belfast and Ashurst in Glasgow.

The firm’s Belfast operations centre has taken on large-scale legal work that “lends itself to a common approach” across international offices, according to director of legal services in Belfast James Richards.

“We're not selling a new office or a different product. What we're doing is helping our existing practices to service their clients,” he said.

In an increasingly competitive market, centralising legal services could be considered the “price of entry” for global firms, suggested Baker & McKenzie business manager David Catterall, who helped establish the facility.

“Our clients want to be assured that we are performing the work for them at the appropriate level. This gives clients and associates more options.”

Baker & McKenzie has had a business services facility based in Manila for more than 15 years, but this marks the firm’s first foray into centralised legal processing.

Mr Catterall said the reception from Australia had been particularly enthusiastic, where time differences mean partners can make requests in the evening and have the finished product waiting for them in the morning.

“In many respects, it's been an easy sell coming down here. The Australian legal market is a very sophisticated market. The partners at Baker & McKenzie absolutely get why we're doing this,” he explained.

Mr Richards suggested the strategy is part of the firm’s “growth story”, emphasising that the new office has not displaced paralegals or junior lawyers at the firm’s international offices.

Rather, he suggested the service was a boon to juniors who were less likely to be tasked with document review or other tedious, bulk work.

“Traditionally, if you were a young lawyer, [some of the work] wasn't that attractive, but there was no one in the office who could do it. Now there is an alternative,” he said.

“I think what it's doing for our junior lawyers is giving them the flexibility to deliver service to clients in a better way and I don't think it's impacting directly on numbers in our offices.”

The centre also allows offices to scale up resourcing on complex matters and deliver services to clients in a more cost-effective fashion, he added.

The centralised office has also taken on more than 150 international surveys, where clients approach Baker & McKenzie with legal questions to be answered over numerous jurisdictions.

In Mr Richards’ view, the centre allows the firm to innovate and deliver services in novel ways that suit clients' budgets and needs.

“There's a real appetite for us to change the way we do things – any smart lawyer can see the way the market is going, and the limitations on the way we've practised historically. This is an agent for change.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Bakers swells ranks of in-house outsourcing centre
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 23 2017
Education a passion for YL president
Promoted by University of Melbourne. Melbourne Law Masters student Phoebe Blank is successfully j...
Nov 23 2017
Anti-radicalisation programs playing ‘second fiddle’ to terrorism laws
Several academics have questioned the balance between Australia’s counterterrorism legislation and...
 William Ah Ket
Nov 23 2017
‘Bamboo ceiling’ thought piece wins inaugural law prize
A paper that explores the idea of affirmative action to achieve greater diversity among members of A...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...