Legal Business Blogs

HSF hires BLP project management team as firms race to chop up work

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has ramped up its ability to break down legal mandates so that work can be handled in a more efficient way, by hiring a new process management team from Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP).

Already operating two outsourcing centres in Belfast and Perth to send low-end legal work to, the City firm has hired a four-strong team from BLP to co-ordinate more efficient ways of handling disputes, M&A and finance work.

Cathy Mattis leads the team hire, joining as head of legal project management for Europe, the US, the Middle East and Africa. She is joined by Lynn Mackay as legal project analyst, Sarah Nathan as a legal project management assistant and Priya Lele as legal project management lead for corporate work.

While team hires have become attractive for law firms bringing in high level partners, HSF’s swoop is the first of its kind for a legal processes team, highlighting the move in the market towards a new way of working.

The team, which helped coordinate BLP’s opening of a legal services centre in Manchester early last year, is regarded as one of the leading groups in the drive towards mandate-mapping, which seeks to break down legal work before dispersing it in a more efficient and cost-effective way. The team’s arrival takes the size of HSF’s legal project management team to 10.

HSF global head of disputes Justin D’Agostino said: ‘Clients want efficient project management of their legal matters. Legal project management allows us to provide clients with a more systematic and disciplined approach to legal work. Ultimately, a better product is delivered and legal spend is optimised.’

The firm opened its Belfast legal services centre in 2011 to handle document reviews in banking disputes, before expanding the centre to take on chunks of M&A and financing work. Earlier this month the firm opened a similar centre in Perth to carry out work for its Asian network.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer became the latest top-tier London firm to open an outsourcing centre by launching in Manchester earlier this year.