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Addleshaws enters booming contract lawyer market with AG Integrate

As it continues its revamp in the hope of becoming a top 20-firm by 2019, Addleshaw Goddard has launched a contract lawyer offering labelled AG Integrate, targeting both clients and as a service to supplement its own workforce.

Headed up by Greg Bott, the service will draw from a pool of lawyers comprising alumni and others that have passed an assessment – a process that incorporates CV, interviews and technical tests. As well as placing those lawyers with clients, Addleshaws will use the service itself for when practices see peaks in demand or if groups have lost staff through secondments or parental leave.

Greg Bott, who also manages the firm’s Client Development Centre, told Legal Business: ‘We know that clients do have a need for temporary resource for discrete periods of time, clients are operating on this approach of more for less. There is a demand from our client base, this business will help us meet that but it will also help with our own work as we see peaks in demand for deal flow where we would like to access a wider pool of talent. It also has the potential for an alternative career path for some of our people.’

The move will see Addleshaws follow in the footsteps of other law firms’ flexible lawyer efforts such as Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Lawyers On Demand (LOD) and Pinsent Masons’ Vario network. However, the firm confirmed the new service will not be spun-out as a separate entity like LOD was.

Katherine Rathbone, HR manager at Addleshaws argued the firm had done similar measures previously on an informal basis: ‘We have done this informally before, both with our fee earners, and also our paralegals through the TST, where clients are looking for resource at different levels rather than just a one-off placement. We see it more as an evolution rather than a necessity.’

Looking ahead, Bott said: ‘This will be an important element of the firm’s offering in the medium to long term. I would like it to be a strong supportive element of our business which is high-quality and perceived in the market as being such – that all the people you get through AG integrate are of highest quality. This will not dilute the quality of Addleshaw’s brand and if there had been the slightest risk of that we wouldn’t have launched this.’

The launch follows the unveiling of the firm’s new strategy, announced by managing partner John Joyce at the end of 2014. Concrete financial targets include the aim of becoming a top-20 firm by 2019, with a profit per equity partner spread of £300,000 to £1m, almost double the £560,000 it is now, as well as a profit margin of 30%. The new strategy seeks to re-establish AG’s place in the market – something boosted by its 2014/15 financials that saw revenues grow 12% from £171m to £193m.