A NewLaw partnership between an SME law firm and a legal services company has been announced which could transform the law firm's ability to compete on the biggest legal jobs. The 17 partner firm, asb law, has upscaled its relationship with law company Elevate in a move to deliver top range legal services to key corporate clients. Elevate, which is a technology-driven legal services provider, assists some of the world's leading corporate legal departments with a range of services from consultancy and project management to flexible legal resourcing services. It deploys the latest legaltech including AI. The arrangement will see asb law empowered to reposition its legal offering to a wider range of clients with resourcing and technology services provided by Elevate.
Breaking the mould
The move to rethink its law practice came after asb law made a strategic decision to focus on what legal departments actually needed from law firms and find the right partner to help deliver. Lyndsey Ratcliffe, head of corporate relationships, said the law firm was intent on breaking the mould in legal services delivery. 'Clients don't value legal process. It's the outcome they want,' she said.'There is no value in the legal process.' The firm took the decision to look at what clients could justify paying for. To deliver this, it needed four elements in its offering, Ms Ratcliffe said.These were LPO services, technology, flexible resoucing and consulting.
Market insights and consulting capabilities
'Providing high quality legal advice is no longer enough to satisfy the discerning needs of buyers of legal services,' Andrew Clinton, managing partner of asb law, said. 'Our research clearly showed there was a need from progressive in-house legal departments for market insight and consulting capabilities to help those departments design and deliver more effective ways of operating.' He added that this consultancy advice 'extends to reviewing how in-house legal teams deliver legal services; managing/coordinating engineers and technologists to build and implement automation that lawyers actually use (including the practical application of AI); and providing a flexible lawyer resource to help manage fluctuations in work load. It made great sense to partner with Elevate, the clear leaders in this sector, to enable us to provide a complete and integrated solution, taking full advantage of technology and good practice.'
Winning new clients
The law firm has already won work on the back of its relationship with Elevate. The firm was recently appointed to the litigation panel for BT. Chris Fowler, COO Legal at BT, commented: 'Like all forward looking legal departments, BT expects its legal services providers to come to us with innovation and with new and more efficient ways of helping us. Both asb law and Elevate differentiate themselves on this basis and this is exactly the kind of collaboration that we are looking for from our providers.'
Commenting on the deal, Elevate president John Croft said: 'asb law realise they can't fight the Magic Circle battle. They have actually listened to their clients about what is needed.' He said both parties got to know each other and had a shared sense of purpose. 'Elevate helps both law firms and corporate legal departments work together to improve quality, efficiency and outcomes. We have been working with asb law for four years now on a number of initiatives and we’ve seen how they ‘walk the talk’ of great advice to their clients with creative fee arrangements that they are able to achieve through efficient legal service delivery and disciplined project management. This strategic alliance is an exciting evolution of our relationship, which will extend, enable and amplify the resources and capabilities of asb law and its clients, such as BT.'