20 Sep 2021

Ashurst launches career development programme for its ranks of new law professionals

Ashurst Advance sets out to provide 'better-defined pathway' for those seeking career longevity in fast-changing new law field

By Alexander Supertramp; Shutterstock

Ashurst has launched a programme to optimise career development opportunities for professionals within its new law division, Ashurst Advance. 

The flexible framework is designed to support those pursuing a career in new law through a range of practical tools aimed at professionals in client facing, supervisory and management roles. 

Given the rapid pace of the market for new law services, the firm said the framework would be reviewed and updated at least every six months with the relevant tools for professionals to succeed in the new law space. The first review will follow the first quarter of the programme's implementation. 

By recognising that new law roles differ greatly from traditional law firm roles, the framework aims to help Ashurst Advance professionals respond to the shifting market for alternative legal service (ALS) provision. 

Mike Polson, head of Ashurst Advance Delivery, said the programme seeks to give professionals a “better-defined pathway” within the world of new law built around “clear role expectations and the stages within a long-term career in new law”. 

It will “remain fluid and we can adapt it as new roles inevitably emerge”, he added, identifying data as a space with potential to generate new opportunities.

"The framework allows people within Ashurst Advance not only to see all the different career options in a transparent way, but to understand the different skills and attributes required across the different roles and levels," he said. "One of the practical tools is an interactive learning pathways platform which allows everyone to quickly and easily identify all learning and development available to support them at every stage of their career journey with Ashurst Advance."

Launched in 2016, Ashurst Advance provides a range of new law services to clients, including flexible resourcing, low cost legal advice and consultancy services by leveraging advancements in technology to deliver efficient legal services. 

Last year, Ashurst hired leading Australian ALS expert Hilary Goodier as a partner and COO of Ashurst Advance in a move the firm said signalled its ambition to be ‘at the forefront of new law’. Goodier joined the firm’s Melbourne office from Herbert Smith Freehills, where she headed up the technology arm of its ALS group. 

She became Ashurst Advance’s fourth partner as part of a 120-strong team, working alongside London-based head Chris Georgiou. Ashurst Advance was relaunched in 2019 as a core division of the firm. 

Last year was a big one for law firms looking to ramp up their own new law capabilities in order to compete with ALS providers by developing comparable services. Linklaters launched a 400-strong legal operations function last March to streamline its new law service offering, which includes legal project management, innovation, knowledge and learning and pricing. 

Pinsent Masons also incorporated its professional services unit Vario as a fifth practice group last October, while Kennedys hived 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’. 

However, UK-listed firm DWF axed its flexible resourcing arm, DWF Resource, as part of a cost-cutting programme designed to save £15m for that financial year. 

 

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