During the original dot-com boom, there was a brief period – oh so brief – when legal technologists and managing partners were almost on the same page. With both camps dreaming of dramatic use of IT projects to revolutionise the legal business – the era of Blue Flag – there were big sums signed off, in many cases with poor results when it came to the hard grind of implementation. Dot-com boom turned to bust and IT professionals were once again from Venus and fee-earners from Mars.
Aside from Linklaters’ high-stakes investment in a platform from SAP during the 2000s, technology has shifted in recent years towards pragmatism and smaller initiatives. Mirroring the wider shift towards flexible tech, chief information officers (CIOs) are increasingly focusing on off-the-shelf tools that can be rapidly adapted at competitive costs. Continue reading “Almost meeting minds – a select band of CIOs and MPs plot a big, big breakthrough”
A law firm pumps out marketing bumpf about how awesome it is and it is received – with ample justification – as self-serving twaddle. An alternative legal services provider pumps out marketing bumpf about how awesome it is and it is met with a round of applause, rather than as the self-serving twaddle wrapped in utopian geek speak it usually is.
The point? These days there are a lot of people talking down law firms. True, plenty of criticism regarding conservatism, high costs and lack of genuine client focus is still justified. But to judge by some claims, law firms aren’t just greedy unresponsive bastards, they are greedy unresponsive bastards standing on a burning deck.
Continue reading “Comment: The mindset for 21st century law – be optimistic and afraid and you’ll do fine”
The single-supplier legal advisory model appears to be gaining traction as Pinsent Masons has won its second exclusive fixed-fee contract this year, with energy giant E.ON appointing the firm as sole legal advisor for general matters, a first in the energy sector.
The terms of the arrangement mean E.ON’s UK legal function will reduce its roster of legal advisers to just one. The five-year deal will ‘encompass work across a full range of specialist legal services,’ a statement said today (3 Oct). Continue reading “Party for one: E.ON appoints Pinsent Masons as its sole UK adviser”
While pundits are queuing up to pronounce the death of the industry’s model, Legal Business canvassed senior figures to devise some practical ideas to make a law firm work better.
You don’t have to look far in the legal profession to find causes for gloom. Battered by a sustained malaise in Western economies, more assertive clients and the threat of legal service liberalisation in the UK, a growing band of observers, general counsel and industry figures have argued that the traditional model of commercial law is fundamentally broken.
Continue reading “How to improve a law firm in 17 easy steps – a blue print for innovation”
While single service retainers appear unlikely to become a broad fixture of the legal market, Eversheds continues to push on with the model having sealed a multimillion-pound deal with valve manufacturer and Tyco spin-off Pentair Flow Control to take over all its routine legal work in the EMEA region.
In a two-year, fixed-fee contract, the UK top 10 law firm has secured the right to carry out all routine litigation, certain intellectual property (IP) and commercial work and some premium work including major litigation, M&A and antitrust work. Pentair merged with Tyco Flow Controls after the three-way split of Tyco in October last year. Continue reading “Moving slowly forwards – Eversheds seals another Tyco-style deal”
Direct Line Group (DLG) looks set to become the next major insurance group to launch a new legal services venture, in partnership with Parabis Law, after applying to the Solicitors Regulation Authority to form an alternative business structure (ABS).
The retail general insurer has also added an interesting dimension to the debate over cuts to legal aid by announcing it plans to launch ‘competitive’ law firm DLG Legal Services at a time when most Britons are struggling to afford legal services. Continue reading “From Meerkats to Bulldogs: Direct Line Group latest insurer to enter legal services market”
As senior private practice and in-house lawyers increasingly turn to flexible staffing options to manage their costs, Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) Lawyers on Demand (LoD) has extended its offering in the marketplace by adding a pay-as-you go, remote services model.
The new service, LoD on Call, will operate alongside the firm’s existing secondment model, now rebranded LoD on Site, which launched in 2007 and spun out from BLP in June 2012. Both are aimed at helping corporates and law firms to cost effectively manage the inevitable peaks and troughs in workflow. Continue reading “Lawyers On Demand launches new pay-as-you-go model as demand increases for flexible staffing”
Major law firms continue to appropriate ideas from legal process outsourcing with Ashurst today (12 June) announcing a venture to create a 150-strong unit in Glasgow to support its practice.
The venture, which will launch later this year, will cover back office support and volume legal work, initially covering areas like document review in litigation and corporate. Continue reading “Sort of offshoring – Ashurst to create new Glasgow unit to lower costs as City leaders push for value”
CMS Cameron McKenna is to scale back its staff outsourcing agreement with Integreon just three years into its ten-year contract.
The news comes four days after Osborne Clarke confirmed it will dramatically reduce its own use of the outsourcing provider.
Duncan Weston, CMS managing partner, today (28 March) confirmed that the firm is considering turning to an alternative provider for facility services currently provided by Integreon but would not provide any detail of how many staff would be affected or the name of the third party provider.
Continue reading “CMS to reduce scope of Integreon outsourcing agreement”
Pinsent Masons is set to launch a contract lawyer service that will provide clients with access to lawyers on a temporary basis as and when they are needed.
‘Vario’ will offer in-house teams a group of freelance lawyers with a variety of experience to cover anything from fixed-term projects to maternity leave. The move follows clients’ increased demand for flexible lawyers and addresses the core issues of resource, cost and skills that often affect the in-house legal teams.
Pinsents partner Alison Bond, who heads Vario, said: ‘Clients are increasingly asking for access to flexible resources. However, we wanted to take the idea a step further and launch the next generation of this type of service. Continue reading “Pinsents launches flexi-lawyer service for clients”