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Offshoring goes in-house: Shell to launch external legal centre to service global operations

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Shell’s legal team has previously sent specific parts of its work to dedicated centres in cheaper locations.

by Kathryn McCann: 31 May 2016

Royal Dutch Shell is preparing to open its own offshore legal centre to service the oil giant’s global operations.

A projects team, reporting to the company’s legal director Donny Ching (pictured), is currently scouting possible locations and considering headcount numbers for the centre, with a brief to come back by autumn.

A mixture of non-qualified and qualified lawyers will be doing more high-end work as well as the traditional back office work which is more typically suited to offshore centres. Potential locations for the centre will ultimately depend on whether Shell can recruit the right quality people in a particular area.

Speaking to Legal Business Ching said the remit to the team was that there were “no preconceived ideas”: ‘There are no targets. When you want a projects team to do a bit of blue sky thinking you don’t want to put too many constraints on them including targets or things like that. The only target they have is a time target – they have to report back by a certain time. There would be a mix of work, because we have standardised a lot of our contracts now, it is much easier for us to train people in off-shore centres to deal with and work with the commercial folks in the business.’

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Extract

Shell’s legal team has previously sent specific parts of its work to dedicated centres in cheaper locations. It has a due diligence team in Glasgow and a patent search team in Bangalore. The wider company also has several offshore business centres in places including Krakow, Glasgow, South Africa, Manila, Bangalore and Malaysia.

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