Innovation in legal services remains the buzzword of the moment, yet what clients require from their law firms remains the same – a true understanding of both their legal and business needs. Firms continue to explore the cost and time-saving benefits that AI and legal technology bring, as well as employing flexible resourcing models as a way to offer greater choice and control, yet what clients demand more increasingly is a collaborative, integrated approach to legal service delivery.
Axel Koelsch, chief operating officer at Addleshaw Goddard (AG) comments: ‘Technology, flexibility and innovation are almost a pre-requisite for clients today. What we are hearing from our clients is that they require a bespoke approach that enables them to fully utilise the solutions we have available at AG, and allows them to pick and choose delivery services, combined with traditional legal advice, whilst having the option to collaborate and embrace disruptive thinking.’
A great example of an integrated approach to the legal design service, is AG’s Intelligent Delivery approach. Launched in September 2017, Intelligent Delivery encompasses the use of technology, flexible resourcing, legal project management, managed legal services and strategic consultancy, as well as providing the platform for new thinking and smart solutions beyond pure legal advice.
Axel continues: ‘Intelligent Delivery is the way we do business at AG. We want to deliver more for our clients through AI, coding, document automation, project management, flexible resourcing and consulting. Intelligent Delivery encourages our clients to select a combination of tools that will help deliver cost, time and resource savings essential for business success.’
A key component of AG’s Intelligent Delivery approach is AG Integrate, the firm’s own flexible resourcing offering, which provides clients with access to highly skilled, freelance consultants whether on a standalone basis or, alongside AG’s established legal services.
Now in its third year, AG Integrate which is managed wholly within AG, continues to build strong relationships with clients by really understand their changing needs and providing them with quality flexible resourcing solutions.
Gun Judge, Head of AG Integrate comments: ‘As the freelance lawyer market continues to boom, clients are seeking greater cost efficiencies and additional control of resource yet with the same quality results they’d expect from a firm like AG.’
‘We set up AG Integrate specifically to help clients access a broad range of high-quality legal services on an “as needed” basis with expertise bespoke to their particular needs. This combined with the reputation of the firm, our breadth of services and our Intelligent Delivery approach – makes all the difference for both our consultants and our clients.’
AG Integrate placements can work in various ways: through temporary secondments, remote working, or creating a blend of law firm and freelance consultant expertise. Once a placement has been arranged under the close supervison of our client relationship partners, our consultants have all the support they need to excel in their assignments. A key benefit of Integrate is access to the firms extensive resources including professional support lawyers, research and knowledge team. As well as getting guidance and support from the wider partnership, partners and the AG Integrate team – meaning they are well equipped to deal with any challenge. Lastly the dedicated Integrate team deals with all the essentials like professional indemnity insurance.
Gun continues: ‘Our focus is not just on filling a freelance role for our clients, but on finding the best way to resource their legal work. From what our clients using the service say, Integrate is simple to use and delivers real value to their business.’
‘Our clients have access to top-quality freelance lawyers to fill a resource gap or provide an injection of skills just when they’re needed (and without the need to manage multiple providers).’
With many benefits to freelancing for both clients and consultants, AG Integrate is working with a range of clients across the firm. Gun concludes: ‘We truly believe that the legal services of the future will combine evolving new business models with traditional legal services, ran in collaboration with clients and private practice firms. It’s an exciting time for the profession and a great time for consultants.’
Read on to learn more to hear from some of our consultants and their experiences of working in a more flexible way.
Get in touch with a member of the team to find out more about how we can help you achieve a more flexible future.
Flexibility and speedy access to unique roles
When Toby Cummins was made redundant he wanted to use the change in his circumstances as a springboard to a more varied career. A friend and former colleague recommended AG Integrate to him, and two weeks later Toby found himself starting an exciting new role in a leading retailer’s commercial team.
After a decade of being an in-house lawyer with one of the UK’s leading telecoms providers, when he was suddenly made redundant last December Toby wanted a different challenge. ‘I was very conscious of the fact that I’d been stuck in the same industry, albeit quite an exciting one, for a decade,’ he says.
Living just outside the Lake District, Toby often found there were logistical challenges for him as a potential employee that seemed less significant as a potential consultant. ‘I was intrigued by the consultancy model because I live at the other end of the country from many of the most interesting roles and businesses,’ he says. ‘I live where I do for the outside space and the beautiful surroundings, but I still need well-paid and interesting work to support both that lifestyle and my family.’
Having made the decision to pursue freelance opportunities, Toby was keen to find an offering that could both support him in securing interesting work with quality clients, but give him the flexibility he needed. ‘The client base, the reputation of the firm and having a personal recommendation’ all led to Toby exploring AG Integrate as a viable option. ‘The process was incredibly quick for me,’ he says. ‘In fact, from meeting Jonathan Davey [one of Addleshaw Goddard’s commercial partners] for the first time to being in post was only a two-week period. It was a rapid and seamless process.’ He also found the AG team friendly and approachable, and continues to find the support provided by them invaluable. ‘The team make the whole process – from recruitment to ensuring swift payment – so easy. It’s really appreciated.’
I live where I do for the outside space and the beautiful surroundings, but I still need well-paid and interesting work to support both that lifestyle and my family.
Toby’s placement within the commercial team of a major UK supermarket provides the client with quality, integrated, flexible resource. It’s a role he’s found is a great match for him, and he is keen to highlight the importance of Partner involvement in the process. It is the existence of this rapport and trust that enables consultants to quickly become fully integrated within clients’ organisations. ‘I think the role suits my personality, particularly my open and commercial style of working and the client feedback so far has been really good. In that sense, credit is due to AG and Jonathan for identifying the type of lawyer I am and the specific role that the client needed to fill. Jonathan and the team recognised that they would be able to accommodate my circumstances when considering me as a candidate for this role.’
The flexibility has allowed Toby to manage a sustainable work/life balance. ‘I have a great set-up now,’ he says. ‘I travel to London on a Monday morning rather than a Sunday night and work from home on a Friday. This gives me more time with my family and a chance to take advantage of the stunning landscapes of the Lakes and Dales.’
The switch to consultancy work hasn’t been without its challenges. For Toby, as with many other AG consultants, this was the first time he had set up and earned through his own company. ‘It can be quite a daunting thing to consider,’ he says. But, with the support of the team, he found things a lot more straightforward than he feared, particularly once he got a good accountant on board. ‘On paper, consultancy often has negative connotations financially, but these can be quickly alleviated with sensible strategies, and there’s potential to really maximise your earnings.’
So is he glad he made the switch? ‘I think AG Integrate offers me an amazing degree of flexibility. Now I have a unique role in a large and interesting corporate organisation that I couldn’t have accessed without an existing client relationship.’
Quality work without the commute
Following a move to the countryside, forensic accountant Lily Dou was prompted to search for more flexible work. After discussing opportunities at AG Integrate with a former colleague, she was soon working on her first case.
After moving as a newlywed to Canterbury, Lily was looking forward to spending time with her husband in their beautiful new surroundings, but with a four-hour commute into London every day. ‘It was getting too hard and I thought there has got to be a better way,’ she says.
Lily was keen to find a new role that allowed her to work more flexibly and, at the same time, to stay working in the niche area of forensic accountancy. After hearing about opportunities at AG Integrate from a former colleague, Lily decided to take the plunge and become a consultant. She found the AG team approachable and accessible and progressed rapidly through the efficient and thorough selection process. Both the team and the partners at Addleshaw Goddard are passionate about the personal aspect of working at AG and quickly got to know Lily as an individual. They soon found the perfect role for her.
Lily is now into her second placement within Addleshaw Goddard itself, providing forensic accounting expertise in the corporate crime team working with partner, Nichola Peters.
Her work has ranged from recreating and solving in-house invoicing issues to analysing historical trading information to working on a major fraud case with the Serious Fraud Office. It’s a varied and challenging workload. ‘If I’m not an expert in a specific area, I make it my business to become an expert and have delivered proven results,’ she says. ‘I think that’s just the nature of the job.’ This eagerness to learn and adapt is a mindset that is fully supported by the AG team. From knowledge and research resources to personal catch-ups with the team, the care and development of consultants is at the forefront of all decisions.
If I’m not an expert in a specific area, I make it my business to become an expert.
For Lily, the AG Integrate model gives her more than just a narrow, short-term assignment. Full integration within the business and involvement in the wider organisation is a core principle that the AG team has offered and actively encouraged. Lily’s enjoying the exposure to other aspects of the business that she usually doesn’t have access to. ‘It’s interesting for me because I get to be part of the meetings where they talk about strategy or a different side of the case that I normally wouldn’t see. I think that’s definitely beneficial.’
She has also found the firm culture warm and welcoming, and feels like an integral part of the team. ‘From partners, to colleagues, to the AG Integrate team, everyone is really friendly and really welcoming. Sometimes I do forget that I’m a contractor because when you’re on such a big case you’re working with the same people for a long period of time.’
Lily works full time, spending two or three days a week in the office and the rest of the time working from home. ‘I have a really good balance to my workload. Obviously, it’s a two-way street so I want to be as flexible as possible and they’re very flexible with me.’ Through regular contact with the AG Integrate team, all elements of consultants’ assignments are discussed to ensure continuous progress is made. It is this care and attention to both personal wellbeing and professional performance that makes consultants like Lily fully supportive of what AG can offer.
So any words of wisdom from Lily for people thinking about becoming an consultant? ‘For me, communication is such an important factor and the AG Integrate team share the same ethos. You can work as much or as little as you need but it’s all about how you tailor the relationship with the team. They balance the objective of the assignment with being receptive to my needs.’
Career-enhancing placements, flexibility, and outstanding professional support
Daljit Kaur wanted a more sustainable work/life balance but without compromising on her career progression. She decided to move into consultancy and was delighted when AG Integrate could provide the combination of quality assignments and flexible working she was looking for.
When Daljit decided to become a consultant, she had a clear idea of the kind of organisation she wanted to join. ‘I wanted to work for a professional legal consultancy, offering a high level of service to clients, with a good reputation and support, working with top-quality companies,’ she says.
Daljit found the AG Integrate interview process very thorough, supportive and professional ‘I think that if I was a client I would be reassured by that thoroughness,’ she says. The highly skilled and experienced AG team aim to balance an efficient on-boarding process with a personable approach. ‘I’m very impressed with the level of care, both to the client and for the consultant.’
It feels like I’m doing a full-time role for those three days but it also allows me to have that extra time with my family
Daljit is now working on a six-month contract at an international bank, helping to bring about digital change for the business, and ensuring legal compliance in doing so. It’s a role she’s finding both enjoyable and stimulating. ‘At the moment, I feel that I’m working in a highly-respected company, that’s allowing me some flexibility but it’s not compromising the quality of delivery. And the experience is great for my career progression.’
She works two days a week in the office, and one day at home, a working arrangement that’s ideal for her. ‘It’s fantastic,’ she says. ‘Obviously that flexibility with working arrangements helps me a lot with picking up my daughter from nursery.’ Through close personal contact, AG understood how important this flexibility was to Daljit and the team soon found the perfect assignment for her. ‘It works really well; it feels like I’m doing a full-time role for those three days but it also allows me to have that extra time with my family.’
Daljit appreciates AG’s support on both a personal and professional level, including access to the firm’s extensive Research and Knowledge resources. ‘It’s reassuring to know it’s there, so if I need it, I can utilise it.’ The active role AG Partners play in the process is also integral to its success. The close relationship between partners and clients provides insight into client needs, structures and processes allowing an understanding of the objectives from the very start of a consultant’s assignment. ‘AG Integrate allows the client to get people with rounded experience,’ says Daljit. ‘The consultants can come in, hit the ground running and have that flexibility a lot of these roles require – somebody who is able to just get on with it. When you’re a consultant you’re used to running with different situations and picking things up quickly.’
So what would Daljit say to someone thinking about becoming a consultant? ‘I would say that AG Integrate an provide career-enhancing placements, working with FTSE companies, while at the same time giving you all the professional support and know-how you may need.’
Head of AG Integrate
020 7160 3140
AG Integrate Manager
0113 209 2168
AG Integrate Advisor
0113 209 2448