The UK legal industry is seeing a growing trend of solicitors embracing the freelance life, according to The Times (London):
This new breed is far removed from old-style locums. They are coming together in virtual law firms — models differ but a popular one involves solicitors working on an earn-as-you-work basis, from home or sometimes the client’s office, with the practice providing centralised administration, support and marketing. The recession means that the future is encouraging for such firms. Redundancy rounds have led many solicitors to rethink their lives, while in-house lawyers face big pressures to cut costs. This increases the appeal of a firm where you pay for the advice but not the fancy City office.
In the US, we've seen a proliferation of 'new model' firms (or 'firms'?) such Axiom, Virtual Law Partners, and the Rimon Law Group. But here's something we haven't yet seen: an established American BigLaw firm that has actively bought into this concept, like Berwin Leighton Paisner (Vault's #30 UK law firm) has:
BLP is one traditional City firm to wake up to the opportunity and threat that this method of practice represents. Its Lawyers on Demand service is aimed at clients looking for an in-house secondment or locum-style arrangement. A pool of 28 freelance lawyers (only one of whom is former BLP) work with clients on a contract basis, vetted and supported throughout by the firm. Simon Harper, the partner in charge, explains that Lawyers on Demand aims to handle more routine work that companies cannot resource in-house but for which they do not need a City firm.
-posted by brian
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