Friday, October 14, 2011

On-demand contract lawyers

A new service in the U.K. that offers clients a cheaper, more nimble alternative to full-time hires. From

Eversheds is set to enter the fast-growing contract lawyer market with the pilot of its own ‘on demand’ legal business.

Graham Richardson, who leads the firm’s consultancy business, is heading up the pilot, dubbed ‘Eversheds Agile’, which began last month and has already seen contract lawyers hired out to GE’s Watford arm as well as a global financial services firm in Hong Kong and a financial services company in the UK.

The service will offer Eversheds’ clients a temporary alternative to additional permanent recruitment, as well as helping to manage unforeseen cost pressures and fluctuating workloads.

Eversheds is aiming to sign up 10-15 lawyers to the service during the year-long pilot, predominantly through recruiters and the firm’s alumni network. The firm also has a pool of six full-time lawyers who are sent out to clients on 
strategic secondments.

The move will draw comparisons with Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Lawyers on Demand business, which was set up in 2008 and now comprises more than 80 lawyers.

Eversheds is also planning to leverage its international network to roll out the service across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and the operation will also offer temporary project managers, human resources consultants and company secretaries.

Richardson (pictured) said: “This is an entirely new offering to the market in that it’s a flexible service with the backing of an international law firm and all the resources that entails. We will review the pilot in a year but every indication is that this is a long-term solution for our clients' counsel staffing needs.”

The service will be run in conjunction with the firm’s consultancy arm, Eversheds Consulting, which was launched in September last year.

Richardson added: “We see it as something that is complementary to our consultancy arm. Flexible lawyers in the field will be able to spot opportunities where our consultancy arm 
can be of service and as our consultants see a need for more resources then flexible lawyers will be a part of that too.”

Hat tip to the ABA Journal blog.


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