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Dentons closes two UK offices and moves to permanent home-working

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Measure applies to all staff including five of the firm’s trainees in Aberdeen and Watford

The world’s largest law firm by headcount is to shutter two of its UK regional offices, in Aberdeen and Watford, with all staff due to work from home permanently.

All partners and employees based in Dentons‘ Aberdeen and Watford offices will continue with their current virtual working arrangements, a statement from the firm read. They will, however, have the option to access the firm’s Edinburgh and Milton Keynes offices, respectively, when required.

A spokesperson from the firm confirmed that the measure applies to the firm’s five trainees located across these offices — two in Aberdeen and three in Watford. “All trainees will remain in their roles working with teams virtually and across its various offices,” they said.

The firm said in the statement that it is not planning to close any of its other UK premises but will review the situation when the lease on its London office expires in 2025. Dentons partially reopened its London office last month with a ‘track and trace’ system in place.

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Dentons has also set up a team to review how the lockdown has changed the way work is done. The review will look at the international firm’s use of technology with the aim of moving towards a “more agile” way of resourcing work, and in turn, its overall real estate footprint.

Lisa Sewell, managing director for the UK, Ireland and Middle East said: “We have seen far less use of paper, more self-service and confidence using new technology and no drop in productivity or service levels despite teams not being co-located 100% of the time.”

She added:

“The success of remote-working during lockdown has made us really stop and think about how we can learn from this new way of working to accelerate the physical and behavioural changes that form part of our strategy to build the law firm of the future. In that way, the lockdown has forced the behavioural shifts that are the basis of any real change of this type, so we want to use this to ensure we don’t just assume we will return to the way we used to work post lockdown. It’s an exciting shift for us, our people and for how we will be able to serve our clients in different ways in the future.”

Earlier this year Slater and Gordon announced it is to close its London office as it looks to embrace permanent remote-working. Staff will work from home for the most part from September but the national firm hopes to find a smaller office space to host in-person meetings.

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