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15 October 2020

BonelliErede spins off alternative legal services business into separate company

Leading Italian independent says beLab is seeking to become the 'go-to company for complementary legal services'

By Ben Edwards

Alessandro Musella

Italian law firm BonelliErede’s alternative legal services provider business beLab has been spun off into a standalone company. 

The decision comes as beLab says it is expanding its capabilities, providing a range of services such as compliance management, e-discovery and litigation support, investigations, and third-party due diligence. 

BeLab, which was founded four years ago, will remain wholly owned by BonelliErede. It currently has 30 employees, and aims to reach 40 staff by the end of the year.

Alessandro Musella, beLab’s president, said: “BeLab has steadily grown to become a hub for the development of techno-centric legal services in Italy. In becoming a standalone company… beLab will branch out into unchartered territories and establish itself as the go-to company for complementary legal services.”

BeLab says its model is based on a co-evolution approach, working with partners to develop tools and technology that can improve efficiency for clients and perform legal work at scale. 

Marcello Giustiniani, one of the creators of beLab and an executive director at BonelliErede, said: “BeLab has earned the opportunity to become a standalone company – one that is fully equipped to help businesses meet the challenges of digitalisation, which can be put off no longer, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The company also says sustainability and social commitments are central to its vision, from the type of materials it uses to the pro-bono and community work it engages in, such as its partnership with Cometa, an Italian charity that supports disadvantaged youths.

Last week, advisory firm Baretz+Brunelle published a study on the growing number of top US law firms that have set up their own in-house alternative legal service providers in a bid to win back lost revenue that has shifted to other tech-focused suppliers. More than a third of those firms had created their own ALSPs to compete with new providers, though fewer than one-in-ten had set them up as standalone companies.

In June, Eversheds Sutherland launched its alternative legal services business Konexo in the US, following its launch in the UK a year earlier.

In February, Kennedys hiveed off its new law-type activities into a separate wholly owned entity, Kennedys IQ, which it characterised as a separate technology driven company akin to ‘Kennedys, without the lawyers’.

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