Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Secondments

What is a Secondment you might ask? It is when a law firm places an associate in a corporation for several months. The theory is that both the client and the law firm benefit. This practice was described in a recent New York Lawyer story and a December 4, 2007 ABA Journal Blog story entitled  "New BigLaw Job: Lend-an-Associate" As the article states:

An innovative perk being offered to favored clients by a small but growing number of law firms can also provide big benefits to associates.

So-called secondments—essentially, a loan of an associate to work onsite for a client for a period that often lasts for months—are growing in popularity with major U.S. law firms. Such arrangements have long been customary among their U.K. counterparts seeking to cement client loyalty, reports the National Law Journal in an article reprinted by New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

A secondment allows the client company to get the benefit of the associate's work, at significantly less cost than what would be paid to the firm at ordinary billable-hour rates, the legal newspaper explains. "Generally, the law firm continues to pay the associate, with the client sometimes providing housing or a set stipend to cover expenses."

Meanwhile, the associate gains valuable expertise in the client's business and an understanding of the client's needs, which helps the law firm provide better legal services. And the arrangement also can help solidify a close relationship among counsel and client personnel that promotes long-term loyalty to the law firm.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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