Partners at Bird & Bird have joined the rush to expand into consultancy work, launching an IT project consultancy Baseline in a joint venture with Lancashire-based ASE Consulting.
The partners, led by co-head of Bird & Bird’s transformational project team Dominic Cook, have invested their own capital in the project and have struck a deal to pass legal work back to the firm.
Baseline, which has an international remit, will initially focus on supporting challenging IT projects by providing support for legal, financial, commercial, technical and management skills aspects. The venture will help review, recommend and resolve issues holding companies back and also assist in the initial planning, design and procurement phases of communications projects.
Cook, who is instructed on BT’s multi-billion pound IT contract for the NHS, has been a partner at Bird & Bird for 18 years and is also an associate fellow of the Oxford Saïd Business School. He said the new business venture ‘will focus on delivering for organisations that are crying out for more effective one-stop, multi-disciplinary support’.
ASE consulting director Robin O’Connor added: ‘By combining Bird & Bird’s approach with our own highly developed change management techniques, we believe we can deliver a new, integrated service that will be a much more effective solution to the challenges faced.’
Bird & Bird’s move follows those made by Eversheds to expand its consulting arm into financial services regulatory compliance work and RPC’s hire of Rory O’Brien to establish a new management consultancy business.
David Kerr, chief executive of Bird & Bird, said ‘Clients are increasingly requiring us to deliver our legal services in new ways and we have to think of innovative approaches to meet that demand. Baseline is an excellent example of how, we can be part of a more comprehensive solution for clients. That helps our clients and means we will be able to attract more high quality legal work, so it is a really significant step forward for the firm.’