Kaye Scholer Latest Large Law Firm to Shift Back-Office Operations to Less Costly Locale

, The Am Law Daily


The Am Law 100 firm said Monday it will relocate some 100 support staffers from a range of departments to a new stand-alone operations center in Tallahassee, Florida.

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What's being said

  • Rich Klein

    I can fully understand BigLaw firms moving some support staff away from headquarters but to take top marketing/PR/business development physically away from partners sounds like a recipe for trouble. As someone who worked inside a law firm, I know that "face time" was often the only way to get a partner's attention on a news release/news story I was working on. Veteran legal marketers across the U.S. have worked hard for almost 20 years now to gain the respect of the managing partners and executive committees. And many partners who have participated in marketing/PR surely have benefitted from the wisdom of CMO's and marketing/PR staff. Law firm leaders need to stop treating marketing/PR pros as "support" staff and more like business development advisors.

    If partners were serious about working more closely with marketing/PR staff -- as well as consultants in the same fields -- it's POSSIBLE they would make more $$ and therefore the firm would NOT have to cut real estate or shift staff to Florida.

    I hope that through Skype, Google Hangouts and many other tech tools that marketing/PR staff will still feel connected and that partners utilize their expertise just as much. But I have my doubts.

  • Here's Why.

    @Puzzled well, probably because the $100,000 difference you cite = a year for a child at an Ivy League school and the $200,000 pays the rent and some "incidentals" for the mistress/boitoy?

    But seriously asking why someone with an income level like that who is in a field (especially these days) where it's possible for their "partners' to decide at any moment to vote them off the island would prefer more, now, is not paying attention to current events.

    Case in point, back during the boom days in Silicon Valley at one quarterly partners meeting discussing costs/benefits where we were deciding what "perks" that other firms were offering to Associates (dry cleaning pick up, child care, latte machines, etc. you know, anything to "make life easier" i.e., make sure they didn't need to leave the office and stop billing time) someone objected to all this as a waste of money. The firm CFO countered with the high cost of recruiting and replacing talented plug and play associates (remember this was in the days when some firms were turning away work for lack of attorneys to get the job done) who were (as partners were) playing musical firms. He then flashed a picture of a brand new Jaguar on his presentation screen. "The amount of money we spent on replacing lost associates last year would have bought one of those for EVERY partner." End of discussion.

    So you can bet a similar presentation accompanied this decision, though frankly, given the current market it might not have been couched as a "revenue enhancing investment" but as a "revenue protection measure."

  • Puzzled??

    I can see moving back office operations out of NYC where the commercial rents are high but Tallahassee? Why not have targeted areas just outside NYC where the commercial rents are much cheaper? Not Tallahassee cheap but cheaper? They hope to draw talent from the the neighboring schools which could be a plus, but it in their rush at cost cutting, they are forgetting that many employees at KS have many years experience at BigLaw firms and are hoping that that level of expertise can be replaced by entry-level type workers. That is short-sighted thinking at it's worst and the partners will be dismayed at the lack of proficiency exhibited once their new office goes online. The PPP are @ 1.4M as of 2011. What's wrong with PPP of 1.3 or 1.2 and maintain the top-notch production level that the support staff has given them? Could it be greed?

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