Magic Circle law firms launch gig economy-style offerings in uncertain legal market
The UK’s leading law firms are betting on the gig economy to boost their growth with Linklaters and Clifford Chance joining Allen & Overy in setting up networks of self-employed lawyers to provide to clients on a flexible basis.
Linklaters is understood to be developing a scheme to take advantage of its alumni network with a launch expected in the coming months, while last week Clifford Chance announced a pilot programme, Clifford Chance Choice, that would allow its alumni to slot into its teams working on specific projects.
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The pair follow Allen & Overy, which opened its flexible lawyering service Peerpoint in London in 2013, and has since expanded its offering to Amsterdam, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Head of people and talent at Clifford Chance Laura King said the programme aimed to tap into a pool of people who wanted to work on an interim basis and give the firm the ability to mobilise lots of people quickly on bespoke projects.
King said it would give the firm the ability to “flex up and down for times that are busy and times that aren’t”.
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Law firm adviser and former Clifford Chance managing partner Tony Williams of Jomati Consultants said the the model “gives firms a little bit more wiggle room in an uncertain market”.
“You don’t have to have all the headcount to meet budget but you have very good quality people able to pick up the slack if necessary,” he said.
The flexible lawyering market is become increasingly mature with Big Four firm PwC setting up its own offering and new capital coming into the sector to buy up established players.
Last year top 20 UK law firm BCLP sold its controlling stake in flexible lawyering service LOD to private equity firm Bowmark Capital while in January US legal services business Elevate acquired UK provider Halebury.