Mounting client demand for secondees has long been a bugbear for City law firms, a reality that one of the most feted New Law brands is now hoping to turn into a business opportunity.
Lawyers On Demand(LOD) is today (31 August) launching a service to provide lawyers specifically for secondments to law firms for their clients, a shift from LOD’s core model of providing short-term placements direct to in-house teams.
The service – dubbed Secondment Solutions – will see LOD’s existing lawyers sent out on secondment under the banners of the client law firms, meaning that firms will not have to use their own permanent staff to meet demands from core clients. Rising demand for secondees from major plc clients has become an increasing source of tension for large law firms, depriving them of productive associates and disrupting their staff development programmes.
LOD co-founder Simon Harper (pictured) told Legal Business that Secondment Solutions has already been trialled with a few firms, including DLA Piper, for ‘quite some time’.
Harper commented: ‘Law firms have problems with client secondments. Sometimes they just do not have the available people and cannot afford to lose a fee-earner. Secondment Solutions is about making sure that the relationship between law firms and in-house clients is a positive one.’
Harper maintained that clients will be content with trading legal expertise from their law firm to LOD and added: ‘The service has gone down well. Clients seem to be open minded. In a sense they get the best of both worlds between us and the law firm.’
Aside from major banks, Harper said that clients from the TMT sector have already used the service.
The move once again highlights LOD’s drive to widen its law firm client base, which currently generates over 20% of its UK revenues. Unlike some contract lawyer rivals, which focus almost exclusively on in-house clients, LOD has been seeking to broaden its commercial base with law firms.
LOD, which was launched 10 years ago, has been moving to expand internationally, in July unveiling plans to launch in the Middle East.
The business posted 15% turnover growth in its first full-year resultssince it merged with Australia outfit AdventBalance in March 2016, in what was the largest New Law merger to date, pushing global turnover to £35m.