Simon Harper: 'The new SRA rules are more flexible to open up the market'
Lawyers on Demand (LOD) has taken advantage of regulatory changes in the UK to launch what it has dubbed a ‘challenger law firm’.
LOD Legal was officially unveiled in the UK today as a division within LOD that provides legal advice to in-house legal teams outside either the structure of a traditional law firm or an alternative business structure (ABS).
The move marks a departure from LOD’s core on demand model because the 30-strong legal team, which is made up of former in-house lawyers, provide advice in similar way to a traditional law firm or ABS does.
The UK is LOD Legal’s third location, having been launched in Australia in 2017 and also rolled out to New Zealand.
The new Solicitors Regulation Authority Standards and Regulations came into effect in England and Wales on 25 November and clarified the way individuals are regulated, specifically allowing them to work outside a regulated entity under a separate code for individuals.
"We hadn't aspired to becoming an ABS because we felt that was more like building a traditional type of law firm,” said LOD co-founder Simon Harper. “However, the new SRA rules are more flexible to open up the market. We had been using a law firm model in Australia and the rule change was an extra nudge to us to roll out the equivalent in the UK.”
The UK team is currently providing commercial law advice to in-house teams of businesses in the technology, pharmaceutical, professional services, retail and fin tech sectors and will expand into employment law shortly.
The team is being led by Harper and Amber Foster, former UK general counsel and head of government affairs at QVC and LOD’s consultant legal director.
Earlier this month, US flexible legal resourcing pioneer Axiom acquired its US rival Bliss Lawyers while in December UK law firm Pinsent Mason’s on-demand arm Vario expanded into Germany with the acquisition of Xenion Legal.