Allen & Overy to expand Belfast Support Services Centre (SSC) further with the creation of 67 extra jobs
January 24th: Allen & Overy one of the pioneers of legal process outsourcing in Northern Ireland, has agreed a further expansion of its 300 plus jobs centre in Belfast, established in 2011.

The Belfast office was launched in the autumn of 2011 to provide some central support services previously based in Allen & Overy's London offices. "Its expansion to service the U.S. and parts of Europe will ensure Allen & Overy can continue to deliver the efficiencies and cost effectiveness clients demand", the company said.

The Belfast SSC will provide a mixture of core support service processes, such as elements of Finance, IT, Business Services and Marketing. The new development will see 43 roles transferring in stages during 2013, bringing the Belfast office headcount to about 350; Relocation packages will be offered where possible with the intention of minimising job losses in other offices of the Allen & Overy network, whioch will see functions transfer to Belfast. The A&O network offices affected will include offices in New York, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Milan, Paris and Rome. "No fee earning roles are affected by the announcement", the firm said.

Commenting on the changes, Wim Dejonghe, Global Managing Partner, said: "We launched our Belfast office about eighteen months ago and, with the Support Services Centre fully operational and successfully delivering the quality service and cost savings we anticipated, it makes sense for us to look at where we can streamline our processes in other parts of the business, building on the economies of scale that Belfast provides us."

"Each of our European and U.S. offices has undertaken a review of its local support services. Today's announcement follows the completion of those reviews. We understand that these changes will be difficult for those of our staff in each location who are affected, and we are committed to supporting them and treating them fairly."

"But with low economic growth across many developed markets, we must ensure we are operating in a way that will deliver the cost efficiencies our clients expect of us, so that we protect the long term competitiveness of our business."

Allen & Overy plans to recruit candidates in Belfast with the relevant language skills, as well as technical qualifications. Invest Northern Ireland (INI) has made provision for incentives for up to 67 new roles, which includes the 43 to be transferred from Allen & Overy's U.S. and European offices, and allows for further natural growth of the Belfast office over the next three years.

Pictured during a visit to Allen and Overy's office at Donegall Quay are Andrew Brammer, Head of Allen & Overy's Support Services Centre and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.

Invest Northern Ireland, which has offered assistance of �348,400.

Announcing the investment the Minister said: “This investment, which will create up to 67 new positions, is welcome and positive news for our economy and the legal services sector.

“Having located here in 2011, Allen & Overy has rapidly grown its presence and is already well ahead of its recruitment schedule with 300 people employed across a range of support and legal functions. The fact that this international firm plans to expand so soon after its initial investment clearly indicates that Northern Ireland has more than delivered in terms of skills, cost competitiveness and infrastructure.”

Andrew Brammer, Head of Allen & Overy's Support Services Centre, said: “Since our investment in 2011 we have been continually impressed with the contribution our Belfast office has made in supporting the delivery of high quality legal services to Allen & Overy’s international client base.

“We are ahead of where we thought we would be in terms of recruitment under the original investment as we have found a wealth of highly skilled and talented people from which to grow our operation. In a difficult global economy, Northern Ireland has provided us with an effective and competitive location from which to grow our business.”