In another example of law firms looking to offer clients lower-cost alternatives to the traditional leverage model, Hogan Lovells has teamed up with alternative legal services provider Elevate to launch a new flexible lawyering service.
The partnership, which launched February 15 in the United Kingdom, will give Hogan Lovells access to Elevate’s 1,500-strong pool of lawyers during times of high demand.
Elevate’s bank of lawyers already includes Hogan Lovells alumni, and the deal will also offer alternative career opportunities for the firm’s lawyers who want to work on a more ad hoc basis.
“It is all about being able to respond flexibly to what our clients need,” U.K. and Africa head Susan Bright said. “There are times when clients suddenly have an urgent need for people in a short timescale—our first priority is to resource that internally, but there are times when you need to respond with a greater capacity.
“This program will also provide additional options for our lawyers who want to continue practicing in a more ad hoc and flexible way, including those who want to take time out, while maintaining their skills, with the potential of returning to the firm in the future.”
The service will initially launch in the United Kingdom, but will potentially be expanded elsewhere.
“We are starting in the U.K., but we anticipate that we may roll out this partnership model across other regions, such as the U.S. or Asia,” Bright added.
Elevate was founded in 2011 by executive chairman Liam Brown, with former Integreon president of business development John Croft joining to launch a U.K. arm in 2013.
According to Bright, the firm decided to partner with Elevate rather than use its own alumni or set up its own pool of contract lawyers because Elevate has an existing pool of contract lawyers, as well as significant experience with running a flexible lawyering business.
“We have used our own alumni directly, and we looked at developing our own internal pool, but decided it was better to partner with someone who focused on this full-time, which gives us immediate access to a bigger pool and means we can focus on our core business,” she said.
The partnership will complement Hogan Lovells’ other legal services delivery offerings such as automated documentation, artificial intelligence, legal project management and the firm’s low cost center in Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
Stephen Allen, the firm’s head of legal service delivery, oversaw the launch of a similar venture while at his former firm DLA Piper which saw it turn to LOD (formerly Lawyers on Demand) to manage a contract lawyer service for the firm.
“Our flexible lawyering program will be of particular importance when clients are dealing with major impact matters such as Brexit and GDPR, which requires a significant increase in the volume of legal support for short periods or at short notice,” Allen said. “While the program will benefit our lawyer management, the greatest value will be to our clients who will have a greater range of options in how we resource their projects at short notice, while retaining the Hogan Lovells assurance of quality.”
A number of other firms have launched flexible lawyer services in recent years, including Pinsent Masons, Eversheds Sutherland and Addleshaw Goddard, while last year big four accountant PwC entered the market with the launch of its Flexible Legal Resources offering.