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Shell Starts Scouting for a New Legal Ops Center

May 31, 2016, 1:57 PM

After several global law firms made moves to consolidate legal staff abroad, Royal Dutch Shell is following suit.

The company is scouting possible locations and considering headcount numbers for a new offshore legal operations center, according to reports in the U.K. legal press.

Per Legal Business , the company’s legal director Donny Ching is leading the charge and plans to scope out geographies and come up with a plan by the fall.

The office is expected to house both lawyers and non-lawyers focusing on back-office functions as well as traditional legal work around contracts. For now, Ching is keeping his mind open about the fine details.

Ching said the remit to the team was that there were “no preconceived ideas": “There are no targets. When you want a projects team to do a bit of blue sky thinking you don’t want to put too many constraints on them including targets or things like that... There would be a mix of work, because we have standardized a lot of our contracts now, it is much easier for us to train people in off-shore centers to deal with and work with the commercial folks in the business.”

We reached out to Shell for comment and the company issued the following statement from Ching:

“We are operating in the reality of a ‘lower for longer’ oil price environment and to remain competitive, Shell is taking essential steps to building a more sustainable and resilient company... Shell’s legal team is examining opportunities to offshore some specific parts of our work where it makes sense to consolidate services, increase efficiencies and reduce costs.”

Earlier this month, Norton Rose Fulbright announced plans to open a global services center in Manila, in a move that would transition 170 jobs from other offices, while Dentons announced a new center in Warsaw that would result in 50 U.K. roles being eliminated.

Write to us at BigLawBusiness@bna.com.