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Dundas & Wilson has launched a Legal Services Unit (LSU), billed as a ‘firm within a firm’, to do routine work cheaply for clients.
The LSU is headed by the firm’s co-managing partner Allan Wernham, but in practice will be managed by solicitor Fiona Letham. The unit is made up of nine paralegals - all based in Scotland – who will provide support to all Dundas & Wilson’s practice areas and offices by doing volume tasks like searches, filing, registrations, basic due diligence and document review.
According to the firm, the LSU will differ from the previous model of using paralegals within practice groups by providing support on a wider range of tasks and by working in a pool. Work can be referred to the LSU either by client request or by partners assigning work to the team. The firm would not comment on whether the LSU paralegals would be billed out at lower rates than those under the previous structure.
A spokesperson for the firm added that no redundancies were being made as a result of the new group being established and that the firm was looking to recruit more paralegals for the team.
In a statement, Wernham said: “Clients are keen for their law firms to come up with innovative ways to resource their work and deliver new models that can improve efficiency. The LSU allows us to provide clients with more flexible resource for volume tasks, but at the same time retain the assurance of having work done by a leading law firm.
Addleshaw Goddard launched a similar initiative in February 2011 (7 February 2011) when it created its Transactional Services Team, which is based in Manchester and comprises paralegals.
Wernham was elected co-managing partner of Dundas, along with Caryn Penley, last month (21 June 2012).