Clifford Chances cost-cutting drive to save 40m

Clifford Chances cost-cutting drive is set to yield a massive saving of 40m next year 15m more than originally predicted by chief operating officer (COO) David Childs.

The saving represents some 100,000 extra profit per equity partner (PEP) over the next two years.

The firms ferocious push on costs has included centralising all the internal business services, including HR, IT, property management and global procurement, and will undoubtedly mean some redundancies among support staff.

As part of the same initiative, the firm is undertaking a limitedexperimentof outsourcing its document production to India.

Childs was appointed COO in late 2003 by managing partner Peter Cornell, with a specific brief to improve profitability following a dismal couple of years. Childs said: Were determined to become more profitable and, like everyone, were looking at costs.

Clifford Chance insiders are already predicting average PEP to jump 15 per cent to around 645,000 at the end of the financial year, from an average of 562,000. That improvement will claw back some of the ground lost last year, when average PEP plummeted by more than 13 per cent.

Thenewget-tough approach has brought about two radical moves this year: the considerable downsizing of Clifford Chances US West Coast presence in the summer, and the closure of the Berlin office, as first reported by The Lawyer (29 November).