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‘More flexible models’: Simmons launches contract lawyer service with Adaptive

Simmons & Simmons has become the latest firm to jump on the innovation bandwagon with the launch of a high-end contract lawyer service for its major clients.

The new model ‘Simmons & Simmons Adaptive’ will target lawyers of all levels from junior associate to partner level, with a particularly focus on mid-level associates, as the firm says it is being pretty ‘open minded’ in terms of the model’s structure.

Simmons & Simmons managing partner Jeremy Hoyland told Legal Business the initiative is slightly different from other models in the market as it focuses more on the firm’s largest clients, will target more senior talent, and fulfil secondment requests.

‘We cannot always say yes to secondment requests when we would like to, but this will give us greater flexibility when providing secondees, especially when the firm is under-resourced on a very large deal,’ Hoyland said.

The flexible legal resource will open to the firm’s UK clients initially, with financial institutions being a large part of the target client base. Hoyland confirmed the model was not brought in to attract further clients.

While the firm said the model has drawn an immediate reaction with alumni ‘keen’ to join, the firm did not provide a target team number or confirm how many have joined so far.

When asked why Simmons chose launch the model now, Hoyland said: ‘There are an increasing number of large projects while transactional activity has also picked up, so resources are constrained, and we are looking at other ways of offering services. Law firms traditionally have a conservative approach to hiring and over the last six or seven years this model has been put under stress. Firms are moving to more flexible models and we see this as part of the law firm industry growing.’ 

Jonathan Hammond, partner and head of Simmons’ financial institutions sector group, added: ‘For some time, we have been considering more ways we can use flexible resourcing to meet business demands. Simmons & Simmons Adaptive will provide another valuable resource option for our clients and their businesses.’

The venture echoes other alternative models of providing legal services such as Allen & Overy’s launch of ‘Peerpoint’ in November 2013, Berwin Leighton Paisner’s successful Lawyers on Demand division, which launched in 2007, and the US business Axiom, which provides services through experienced contract lawyers.