We've always been a great fan of outsourcing and have felt that in the current economic climate, this is an idea whose time has come. And its time has come (although the firm actually began investigating the idea over a year ago – long before the current recession was even a pebble on the Northern Rock horizon) in a big way for UK top 30 firm Osborne Clarke, who have just signed an outsourcing deal with Integreon worth £50 million over 7 years.

Under the deal, around 75 members of staff will move from Osborne Clarke to Integreon under a TUPE scheme, with effect from March this year – no redundancies are expected. The services being transferred over belong to what Integreon describe as 'middle office' support services, including technology and business intelligence services (including Interaction CRM database management); knowledge, library and information management; transcription, secretarial and wordprocessing services.

The deal also sees Osborne Clarke's chief operating officer  – and key architect of the scheme – Chris Bull joining Integreon as European COO with immediate effect. Other Osborne Clarke senior managers joining Integreon include the firms's head of infrastructure & IT Nathan Hayes and head of information services Eleanor Windsor.

Integreon, which already has onshore service delivery centres located in Fargo (North Dakota) and New York City, as well as offshore facilities in Mumbai, Delhi and Manila, will run its UK operations from new facilities in Bristol. (Clifford Chance currently uses the Indian centres to support document production and a limited range of research services.) Osborne Clarke managing partner Simon Beswick will assume responsibility for the non-outsourced aspects of Chris Bull's work.

Interestingly, a number of other law firms are described as being in 'active discussion' with Integreon.

* Integreon describe their approach as providing a range of 'knowledge support services' to lawyers, such as research and analytics, legal and financial document services, discovery services and finance and accounting services, that 'transform the middle office' and allow professionals to focus their time and energy on 'their highest and best use'. In otherwords, to allow lawyers to focus on lawyering and to have support services delivered as efficiently as possible.
www.integreon.com