Biglaw, Outsourcing, Trendspotting

Is On-Shore Outsourcing the Biglaw Wave of the Future?

Hot on the heels of support staff layoffs and on-shore outsourcing efforts at O’Melveny & Myers, we have news of another law firm doing the exact same thing. Except this law firm has figured out a way to do it with half the tears and way less relocation angst.

On-shore outsourcing might be better for the American economy than sending the jobs overseas, and Pillsbury Winthrop has figured out a way to do it that doesn’t involve shipping people to the third world country known as “West Virginia.”

Pillsbury is moving staff operations farther south, and the firm is bringing some of its executives with it, too….

Pillsbury announced today that it would be opening a Professional Services Center down in Nashville, Tennessee. The firm expects to start transferring current staff members and recruiting new ones to work in Nashville this spring, and hopes that the Center will be fully operational by the end of next year.

At least these people will get to experience the Grand Ole Opry instead of well, actually, we don’t know what West Virginia has to offer besides hillbillies, so, there’s that.

The firm has provided more information in a press release:

Individuals at the new facility will include support staff who are critical to Pillsbury’s operations but who are able to work outside of the firm’s current practice offices. The center will provide services in the areas of information technology, finance, new client intake, word processing, and other non-legal professional services. Eventually, the Nashville center will have approximately 150 employees, including professionals recruited from the region as well as current professionals who transfer to the center.

Not only is Pillsbury’s on-shore outsourcing going to create jobs, but the firm is also going to throw some executive muscle behind its decision. The firm’s CFO, Sean Whelan, as well as its CIO, Martin Metz, will be relocating to Nashville to set up and run the center.

Overall, this sounds like a much better alternative than O’Melveny’s, which was to simply give people the axe in favor of “technology driven efficiencies.” Of course, if we have that wrong, Pillsbury staffers, reach out to us at 646-820-TIPS (646-820-8477) or At the very least, we wonder if Pillsbury staff members facing relocation will be given the same treatment as its executives in terms of paying for necessary moving expenses.

A tipster tells us that Pillsbury is playing nice and will be offering the following to staff who plan to relocate:

Two weekends in November are set up, firm sponsored, for people to go and check out the Nashville area, talk to companies who have done the same thing, talk to real estate agents, or even rent a car and go explore on their own, also firm paid. They have to give their intent to relocate or not by January 14. They will be expected to start the move around May. Relocation money will be available. Salaries will be reduced in accordance with the Nashville market rate for the relocated jobs, though we have been told that the pay will be higher than the Nashville average.

But what if you don’t want to relocate? Pillsbury staff members will have to suck it up and deal, unless the next place they want to be outsourced to is the unemployment line.

Pillsbury to Open Professional Services Center in Nashville [Pillsbury Press Release]
Law firm service center in Nashville could employ 150 [The Tennessean]

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