Insurance company Aon has met with only limited success in its bid to run a legal department staffed only by lawyers on secondment.
Aon announced its intention to create a 30-strong in-house legal department by this unique method of borrowing lawyers last year. The company has actually managed to attract only 12 lawyers, less than half its target figure. The temporary team of lawyers is comprised of the insurer's panel firms - Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, Beachcroft Wansbroughs, CMS Cameron McKenna, Davies Arnold Cooper, Eversheds and Rowe & Maw. Ted Langer, Aon associate director, contends that the strategy has saved the company money, estimating the savings to be more than £100,000. Lawyers involved in Aon's secondment strategy earn a basic salary as opposed to the standard hourly rate for external advisers. The team was set up to handle solicitors' professional indemnity claims for the company's alternative to the Solicitor's Indemnity Fund, Aon Claims Solutions. The original idea was to reduce costs for the insurer while giving the lawyers on secondment on-the-job claims-handling experience.