Lawyers On Demand (LOD) is launching a ‘challenger’ law firm to compete with traditional firms on providing advice to in-house teams across the UK, three years after the business was first launched in Australia.
The business – LOD Legal – is staffed exclusively by lawyers from an in-house background, with the team currently in excess of 30 lawyers comprised of new full-time employees and existing lawyers from the core LOD team. Like LOD, the business operates under a corporate structure.
‘The joy of our model is we can respond in a speedy fashion to what clients want,’ LOD co-founder Simon Harper (pictured) told Legal Business. ‘In the UK it will be focused at the start on delivering services in an agile way. The Australian business is significantly more progressed, so that provides a blueprint.’
Since its origins at legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner, LOD has enjoyed close relationships with traditional firms for work. However, Harper believes the launch of LOD Legal should not step on the toes of LOD’s private practice clients, instead providing ‘healthy competition’ as a significant majority of LOD’s work comes from in-house clients.
‘There was always an overlap with private practice, even in the BLP days,’ Harper added. ‘But we’re not looking at big ticket litigation or multi-jurisdictional M&A. We’re targeting the everyday work for in-house teams.’
With outsourcing and day-to-day commercial contract work the initial aim of the firm, LOD Legal will be supported by the project management and technology service lines already provided by the wider LOD business. Currently, LOD Legal is providing commercial legal advice to in-house teams across the technology, pharmaceutical, professional services and retail sectors in the UK. According to Harper, the business expects to add employment law capability imminently.
Moving ahead LOD Legal will be pitted against large traditional firms who also provide such offerings through their managed legal services arms. Eversheds Sutherland’s Konexo business is one such example, while DWF and Addleshaw Goddard also have managed legal services capabilities.
The moves by LOD come after changes made by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in November 2019, which allowed for solicitors in England and Wales to provide services in new ways, outside the confines of traditional law firm structures.