White & Case eyes Ireland and Poland for legal support centre

White & Case could open a business and legal support centre in Northern Ireland in an attempt to cut costs for both the firm and clients.

The US firm – which has operated a business processing outsourcing (BPO) unit in Manila in the Philippines since 2007 – is planning to launch a smaller offering in Europe, with Belfast or Poland the most likely locations.

The firm began considering plans for an additional outsourcing base in Europe last year, but at that point was focusing attention on Central and Eastern Europe.

However, moves by firms such as Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith to open support centres in Northern Ireland have prompted White & Case to consider creating its own base in the region.

In contrast to the Manila centre, which only carries out business support work such as administrative, technology, marketing and accounting support, the proposed European centre could also provide legal services support in addition to back office. White & Case is also still considering adding some legal support to its Manila base.

White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier said: “We have a support hub in Manila and now we’re looking at building another one in Europe, which may provide legal services support as well as back office.”

“Clients want more for less – a shift away from ‘I work, you pay’, and this translates into firms having to transform their practice; recreate it. Legal process outsourcing is a part of that.”