Lawyers on Demand to launch in Manchester

Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) legal contractor Lawyers on Demand (LoD) has launched a Manchester hub as part of the firm’s move into the region.

LoD’s on-site contract lawyer service will be based  in BLP’s low-cost Manchester hub, launched this year as part of an efficiency drive (11 March 2014).

The on-site service, which seconds lawyers to companies for fixed contracts is independent to BLP, after being spun out in 2012. The business took out a £2.75m loan from BLP in order to acquire all its assets but BLP remains the principal shareholder, with an 80 per cent stake in the business (13 May 2014).

The on-site offering will launch as a pilot from autumn and will offer lawyers on secondment style arrangements across the north west in an extension of its current offering.

BLP launched its Manchester hub earlier this year as a testing ground for its new mode of dividing up and reducing the cost of its legal work. The firm plans to hand more work to paralegals and its regional offices.

The on-site offering in Manchester from LoD will not operate under the BLP banner. However the firm will start using LoD remote lawyers from its separate on call service as part of its teams. The company has been expanding its remote contract lawyer on call service over the past year (19 June 2013).

Last month it launched transactional teams in prepration for taking on more work as part of BLP teams. In the past the two have remained as separate entities but the firm will increasingly use the service as a way of cutting client costs. 

BLP is expected to launch its Manchester base in full in coming months. Sources said earlier this year that the Manchester offering could include earn-while-you-learn paralegals from local universities.

LoD’s northern initiative will be led by practice development director and former Financial Times general counsel Tim Bratton, working between London and Manchester (9 July 2013). It is planning on recruiting local lawyers to work remotely with clients like Google, the BBC and Barclays.

LoD’s 2012/13 accounts reveal that the legal resourcing business posted revenues of £7.9m and made a profit of £172,000 in 2012/13 but has strong financial ties to BLP.

BLP retains an 80 per cent stake in LoD and has four directors on the board. Currently the service is based around two services: LoD On Site and LoD On Call, which offers contract lawyers to in-house teams for set periods of time (24 May 2012).

LOD was founded by Simon Harper and Jonathan Brenner. In 2013 the group recruited Financial Times (Ft) general counsel Tim Bratton as practice development director . His mandates was to focus on LoD’s client and lawyer relationships and implement a practice development strategy.