Orrick reduces overhead by offering voluntary early retirement

So the alarmists amongst us will cry the sky is falling, while the cold, hard business management types will argue that increasing efficiencies and decreasing expenses is a sure way to increase profits. As is often the case, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Michael D. Torpey, the firm’s managing partner, sent out a firm-wide email to announce a voluntary early retirement program for U.S. secretarial staff. Thirty-seven secretaries are eligible for this buyout, which was offered to those who have “10 or more years of service to the firm and will be at least 59 ½ years of age in 2014.”

Here’s an explanation of the buyout program, from Torpey’s email:

I wanted to make all of you aware of the program and our reasons for offering it. As you know, a year ago we reviewed our support staff structure and took steps that are generating both significant service improvements and cost savings. We did not look at our secretarial staffing at that time. We already have secretarial staffing ratios that are in line with our peer firms. With the use of our very successful secretarial service centers, the ARC at the GOC, and other new ways of working, we have now identified opportunities for further improvement, which we can achieve through this entirely voluntary program.

Reduction of administrative staff is not in itself an overwhelmingly large area of concern, but it does beg the question of who may be next, and when.


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