Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Hogan Lovells has cut 54 business and legal services jobs in London as part of a long-running restructuring process aimed at moving a number of support staff positions to lower-cost centers in England, South Africa and the United States.

Some 90 jobs in London were put at risk as part of a restructuring process that started in September 2017. The firm’s review, which came as Hogan Lovells offered voluntary retirement packages to some 400 employees, ultimately affected 78 business services roles and 12 legal support positions.

Hogan Lovells confirmed that 54 individuals have left the 2,685-lawyer firm, which saw its gross revenue top $2 billion in 2017, with a further 17 people still in redundancy discussions. The overwhelming majority of those leaving Hogan Lovells worked in business services functions, such as conflicts and compliance, finance, information technology, knowledge and research, marketing and business development and office services. A few legal support roles are also included within those 54 departures.

“Many of these roles have moved to our business services centers,“ the firm said in a statement referencing its back office facilities in Birmingham, England; Johannesburg; and Louisville, Kentucky. “This was a carefully considered step focused on improving our business performance and sustainability in a rapidly evolving and competitive legal market. In parallel with this project, we have also made further significant investments in technology, legal project management and our use of artificial intelligence.”

Hogan Lovells launched its Birmingham and Johannesburg back office centers in 2014, with the latter coming after the firm absorbed South African shop Routledge Modise in late 2013. The Johannesburg facility now employs about 110 staffers in areas like business development, conflicts, finance, marketing and technology, while the Birmingham outpost currently has some 70 employees.

The firm’s restructuring process, one known in the U.K. as a redundancy consultation exercise, is expected to conclude in July or August of this year. Hogan Lovells, formed in 2010 through a trans-Atlantic merger between Washington, D.C.-based Hogan & Hartson and London-based Lovells, recently made headlines for shuttering its office in Caracas, as well as revamping an annual review system for associates.