Allen & Overy is outsourcing half of its document production department to southern India in a landmark move set to result in around 40 job losses in the UK.

The firm’s board decided last Friday to proceed with the radical plan following the successful completion of a pilot scheme earlier this month. Around half of the firm’s 85 document processing staff will be retained in London following the completion of an imminent redundancy programme.

A&O has signed an agreement with US company Office Tiger to set up an operation in the Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras).

Steven Chernikeeff, A&O’s head of operational services, told Legal Week: “This is a paradigm shift for any major law firm. The new Indian team will be predominantly comprised of graduates and working conditions and salaries will be of the highest local standard.”

As part of the deal, Office Tiger will assign a team, expected to be around 40 staff, from its 600-strong Chennai workforce to work exclusively on A&O documentation.

Chernikeeff added: “We expect many other major law firms to embark upon similar projects in the near future.”

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