Biglaw, Layoffs, Outsourcing, Staff Layoffs

Nationwide Layoff Watch: Outsourcing Claims Additional Law Firm Jobs


Consistent with our strategic plan, we asked various Firm administrative leaders to identify and implement changes to streamline the processes that they oversee, with a focus on becoming more efficient and cost effective. The resulting initiatives are aligned with our overarching objective of delivering exceptional client service and promoting innovation in our work processes and staffing models. All of these efforts are intended to position our Firm for long-term success. The decision to migrate to a single source research provider for library services (Lexis) is a recent example of one of these initiatives. Today, I am announcing another.

We have informed the employees in our Records Management Department that, effective October 1, their positions will be outsourced to Williams Lea, a leader in law firm business process outsourcing. This change affects all Records Management employees assigned at the office level, including managers, supervisors, coordinators and records specialists. The members of our Records Management staff have contributed to the effectiveness of our records function over the years and have much to offer an organization like Williams Lea. All of our Records Management staff will have the opportunity to interview for a position with Williams Lea, and while we cannot offer absolute assurance, we expect that many of them will be offered jobs with that organization and will continue to work with us. We will, of course, offer severance to all departing staff members.

Our rationale for making this decision is straightforward. The Firm is migrating away from records management processes that focus on the physical file to an environment where, in most cases, the electronic version of a document is the official record. Williams Lea has significant experience designing and implementing imaging processes, and our goal for the next three years is to re-configure and re-train the operations staff to adapt to the use of imaging technologies and work flows. Williams Lea is well-suited to implement these solutions and to provide the training and support that the records management personnel will need to be successful in the future. It is more cost effective for us to use an outside organization to implement these solutions and provide this training than it is for us to do it on our own. While we acknowledge and appreciate that change and transition are never easy, we do believe that this transition may provide an ancillary benefit to some of our people as well. Because of our flat organizational structure, our Records Management staff members have limited career growth opportunity. Williams Lea is a large organization with many clients and service lines. Former Foley staff who join Williams Lea will have better options for various types of work and positions, including management roles. In addition, as we continue to transition to imaging thereby reducing the records management resources that we need, former staff members who join Williams Lea may be reassigned to other locations serviced by that organization rather than face potential outplacement.

Many of you are familiar with Williams Lea, which has managed the mailroom, copy center and hospitality functions in several of our offices for many years. Our strong relationship with the organization, plus its experience in the legal industry and with records management and imaging technologies in particular, make Williams Lea the right partner for records management outsourcing at our Firm.

Although all local office records management operations will become the responsibility of Williams Lea, certain activities will remain within the Firm and will be managed by the Information Governance Department. These activities include document holds, mandated records destruction, records retention, project management for “file transfers,” and compliance with various federal and state information privacy regulations.

The decision to outsource our recordkeeping function was a difficult one, particularly because it impacts people who have served the Firm well. Nonetheless, we have an obligation to do what is in the best long-term interests of the Firm, and we believe this decision is consistent with that obligation. We can assure you that we will work with integrity, compassion and the utmost professionalism to assist our Records Management staff with this transition. On behalf of all of us, I would also like to extend my thanks to our Records Management staff members for their service during their tenure as employees of the Firm.

If you have any questions regarding the foregoing, then please feel free to contact [redacted].


Earlier: The Growing Trend of Staff Layoffs: Fulbright and Goodwin Announce Cuts
Is On-Shore Outsourcing the Biglaw Wave of the Future?
Staff Layoff Watch: O’Melveny & Myers Replaces 75 Humans With Technology
Two Partners Leave Paul Hastings for Nixon Peabody (Plus Paul Hastings staff layoffs.)

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