Clifford Chance, the world’s largest law firm, announced yesterday that it would outsource much of its administration work to India, in what will be the biggest move offshore ever undertaken in the legal profession. The proposal is expected to yield more than $18m (£9.5m) in annual savings.
A service centre being built in Delhi is due to open next spring. It will cover 4,000 sq metres and create 300 jobs in IT, accounts and other areas of business support. The company would not quantify job losses at its existing offices.
Such ventures have been condemned by British unions, which have criticised employers for shifting jobs to cheaper labour markets overseas. The United Nations has estimated that a further five million workers in the United States and Britain may see their jobs move eastwards in the next decade.
Integreon Managed Solutions, which has been commissioned to build the facility, said the move by Clifford Chance was “very significant”. John Croft, Integreon’s president of global sales, said: “This is a big step, first because it is a law firm, and second because it is the biggest one in the world.”
Although other law firms, such as Baker & McKenzie, have already outsourced some operations, Clifford Chance’s move represented a tipping point for outsourcing by the legal industry, he added.